Funeral Planning on a Budget

Here is the Eirene list of the top 14 ways to save on the costs of a funeral or cremation, whether it’s your own or somebody else’s.
5 minute read

Let’s be frank: managing your end-of-life plans are not at the top of your list. In fact, it’s probably something that you want to actively avoid, yet, it is one of the most important things to take care of while you are still able to. If you do not take control of this process, it may become a needlessly exorbitant cost that will run you, or your loved ones up thousands in costs.

We're on a mission to provide a cost-efficient, simple and transparent end-of-life solution. Here's our list of the best ways to save on the costs of a funeral or cremation, whether it’s your own or somebody else’s.

  1. Education matters.

    Sourcing information and reading articles such as this one is a great place to start. Taking time to speak to others and to learn about end-of-life options such as direct cremation (a low-cost, accessible option) or which add-ons at the funeral home you *absolutely need* and can forego. Tap into free resources such as the Eirene blog to learn more about funeral practices and different ways you can approach end-of-life scenarios.

  2. Know your options.

    By shopping around you can gain more insight into costs and what you can expect. Calling up funeral homes in your area and asking questions around pricing and process can help you choose - and ensure that they are trustworthy. Using online platforms such as Eirene for simple and straightforward options that give you room to choose what type of burial and memorial you’d like.

  3. Consider your burial options.

    Sometimes what is expected of certain moments of life aren’t exactly what we or our loved ones want. For example, you may not see yourself having a permanent resting place in a cemetery, and would rather opt for more flexibility by being cremated with your ashes spread in a special, meaningful place. Choosing something like a direct cremation can surely save you time, and money.

  4. Be clear and upfront about your end-of-life needs

    We can actually backtrack a bit here - before speaking to anyone, you should have an idea of what you or your loved one desires when it comes to funeral choices. Having an idea of whether or not you’re looking to go traditional (according to your culture or religion) or doing something simple, easy and dignified with the choice of a personalized, at-home memorial will help you decide. Having some semblance of an idea will also help you when you’re speaking to funeral homes. Being clear and upfront will make the process smoother, and help you benefit from the interaction without fear of being upsold on things you do not need.

  5. Ask for an itemized price list

    If you’ve gone ahead and chosen a funeral home that fits your needs, it’s your right to ask for an itemized price list. This is a requirement by law. The funeral home must provide a breakdown in advance of all the services you are purchasing, helping you avoid any surprises later on. An added bonus of this list, if the list that is provided is up-to-date and new, you can be sure that the company is abiding by Canadian laws.

  6. Take time to pre-plan as much as you can

    The more time you and your loved ones take to pre-plan your end-of-life needs, the less you’ll need to figure out “on the fly.” Especially during a time that is so wrought with grief and emotions, the last thing you’d probably want to do is quibble over processes or bills.

  7. Make the obituary brief

    Surprisingly, the costs of an obituary can be staggering. By keeping your obituaries short, using a free online obituary listing such as Eirene’s, or just opting to forego it altogether, you can save on costs of nearly $700.

  8. Skip embalming

    Many are not aware that embalming is not required by law to be performed when preparing a body. In fact, the trend is moving far away from using environment-harming formaldehyde to preserve the body. This can be a savings of up to $500.

    Learn more about embalming and the legality here.

  9. Simplify the casket

    If you’re looking to save costs, choosing a more affordable option for your casket can save you thousands of dollars. A good funeral director will help you find options that fit your budget but be aware that you can also choose to buy from other retailers such as Walmart and Costco to help save costs. If the casket does not matter much to you, you can even opt for a simple and dignified pine box, similar to the one that Eirene uses.

  10. Order an urn online or in advance

    Similarly to a casket, you can order your urns online, saving you money at the funeral home. Thanks to the size (10-12 inches at it’s longest dimension), you can easily order an urn ahead of time and store it somewhere safe until the time is needed. This is where pre-planning can really pay off!

  11. In fact, maybe forego the urn entirely

    Funeral homes or crematoriums provide you the remains in a plastic bag inside a standard plastic or cardboard box. While this is seen as a temporary urn in the industry, it can be permanent if you need it to be.  Depending on what you plan to do with your loved one’s remains, i,e, scattering the ashes, you may not even need an urn at all!

  12. Consider a home funeral

    Home funerals are becoming a growing trend, that provides a sense of home and comfort that traditional funeral homes may not. While it is an added amount of work for you and your family, it is a great flexible option and can help you work through grief and manage your costs.

  13. ...Also consider alternative reception venues

    Beyond the home funeral, consider other places to host an intimate ceremony honouring your loved ones. From churches to community centres and even a local park, these options can be more affordable than a funeral home.

  14. Funeral funds: a future investment

    While this may not help you if you’re in the midst of planning a funeral right now, it can help you pre-plan and save time and money for the future. Funeral funds allow you to put money away for future funeral expenses in a separate account.


Funerals and end-of-life arrangements can be one of the largest costs that you and your loved ones will face in your lifetime. There are ways to manage and reduce the amount that you spend while providing yourself or your loved ones the dignity that you deserve. Eirene is a direct cremation option that provides peace of mind and ease while giving upfront and transparent pricing. Contact us today to learn more.