How To Arrange An Inexpensive Memorial For An Environmentally Conscious Individual

An unexpected death can cause a lot of anxiety for those who don’t have the money for a funeral. The average cost of a funeral in 2016 is around $8,000 – $10,000 dollars. Having to cover the costs of a funeral can be devastating for a large portion of our population when you consider nearly a quarter of Americans do not have enough savings to cover an emergency expenditure of $100 or less. Fortunately, there are ways to lower the costs of a funeral significantly if you are willing to forego the traditional setup of a wake, church service, and burial. Here is how you can arrange an inexpensive memorial that honors the memory of an environmentally conscious loved one.

Choose Cremation

The average cost of a cremation in the United States starts at $600 and, if you know that the deceased wouldn’t object to their remains being cremated, it is a viable option you can use to save money on the cost of the funeral without appearing like you are scrimping to save a few dollars – even if you are. The remains can be given to you after cremation in many communities in a plastic bag lined cardboard box instead of an expensive urn.

Memorial Tree Urn

The use of memorial tree urns is growing in the United States as environmentally-conscious people look for alternative ways to dispose of their remains with having an adverse effect on the environment. A traditional burial usually includes a body that has been embalmed with a toxic combination of formaldehyde, methanol, and other types of solvents. The chemicals are used to preserve the body during the wake and funeral service, but the chemicals are also environmentally dangerous. The use of immediate cremation and a memorial tree urn avoids putting embalming chemicals in the body of your loved one.

The ashes can be planted in a memorial tree urn and planted in a public park. A memorial tree urn helps the nutrients from the ashes of your loved one to get absorbed into a tree as it grows. You should contact your local parks department to find out about costs. Some parks department let you do it for the cost of the tree and planting, and others may not charge anything at all. In places that charge for planting a memorial tree, you should expect to pay upward of a few hundred dollars.

Memorial Plaque

Instead of a grave marker, you can put a memorial plaque right by the tree to help people remember your loved one and pay their respects. A memorial plaque usually can cost a couple hundred dollars or more, but it is still less expensive than a large gravestone. 

Honoring a loved one in death who was environmentally conscious can be done is a meaningful way on a limited budget. Contact local funeral services for more help.

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Pay Your Respects: Clever Ways To Memorialize Loved Ones At Their Resting Place

If you want to do something special to pay tribute to someone who has passed, flowers may not be the most appropriate memorial. Think of something that has an underlying significance and meaning for the deceased person, and that will last longer than cut flowers. There are some intriguing alternatives that might be better ways to commemorate a loved one’s life.

Some ways to pay tribute at someone’s gravesite include:

Build a cairn.

In Scottish culture, people create towers from stones called cairns to point out something important, give directions, or memorialize something lost. These typically are made with smooth river stones or beach rocks and are wider at the base than at the top to help with stabilization. Create your own cairn on the gravesite of someone dear to you, and see how long it lasts without toppling over due to wind or weather.

Leave some coins.

If you ever walk through a cemetery, you may notice that some headstones have coins left on them. This has varying significance, including historical beliefs that the coins pay the fee for the spirit to move on and be freed from roaming the earth. Another reason relates to military graves; different coins symbolize different relationships between the person leaving the coin and the deceased:

A penny represents that the person leaving it behind on the headstone was familiar with the person buried there.

A nickel signifies that the person trained or was in military boot camp with the deceased soldier.

Members of the same company, squadron, or troupe may leave a dime on the grave.

Leaving a quarter behind indicates that the person placing the coin was with the deceased soldier when they passed.

Plant something significant.

Take time to plant something special at the grave of your loved one. There are many plants and flowers that have underlying meanings which bring some significance to your memorial for the deceased. Plant a pot of the following flora to fondly commemorate the person that has passed:

Jasmine represents heaven and the afterlife.

Daffodils symbolize beauty.

Red carnations signify eternal love and never-ending beauty.

Daisies symbolize youth.

Grapes represent Christianity and a belief in Christ.

Do something different to memorialize the life of a loved one. Try one of these ideas to not only commemorate the life lived, but also to show some respect and significance for the deceased. Be sure that you are aware of the guidelines and regulations of the cemetery before planting or leaving items behind on any site.

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Three Ways To Help Your Family With Costs After You Die

If you’re trying to create a funeral plan so that your family will know what to do after you die, don’t forget to take costs into account. Many people plan for their funerals and give their families instructions, but that still leave the family on the hook for the costs of the funeral, death certificates, and more — not to mention house payments and other costs that you are handling now. That can make your funeral plans moot if you asked for more than your family can afford to pay at the time you die. Here are three ways in which you can make sure your family doesn’t suffer financially while dealing with your death.

Pre-Pay Your Funeral Expenses

When you meet with mortuary and funeral home directors, you’ll not only be able to choose your service type and so on, but you’ll be able to pay for a lot of it right then. Believe it or not, not everyone takes advantage of this, and that can have two very depressing effects. One is that your family might have to wait to bury you if they can’t come up with the money at the time you die. Even if your family is quite well-off now, their situation could change over time for the worse, leaving them unable to pay when they need to.

The other effect is that costs can go up. If you pre-pay now, your family will not have to deal with the increased costs later on. Some costs are known to go up, like religious-officiator fees, and those you might not be able to pre-pay. But you will be able to pre-pay most of it, leaving your family with a very low bill.

Get Life Insurance

Life insurance policies aren’t going to pay out immediately once you die; your family will have to send in your death certificate and other company paperwork. But once they do that, the money is released, and that can help your family with costs related to your home, or even to your funeral if you neglected to pre-pay most expenses.

You don’t need a huge life insurance policy that requires a giant medical exam. If you belong to an auto association-type club, you may be able to get a special policy through them, or your bank or credit union may offer something.

Make Your Accounts Payable Upon Death

This is a subtle change that not everyone knows about. Specifically designate your bank accounts as payable upon death. This means that if the person named as the beneficiary on your account comes in with your death certificate, the bank can pay out the amount of money in the account right then. Normally, banks want a beneficiary listed anyway, but specifically making the account payable upon death eliminates possible delays. Each bank is different, but many times, creating a payable-upon-death account is as simple as signing a form.

If you want other advice on ensuring your family doesn’t end up dealing with financial pain after your death, talk to the funeral director who is helping you plan your funeral, along with an estate attorney. The more you do now, the easier things will be in the future. To learn more, speak with someone like Danks-Hinski Funeral Home.

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How To Find The Right Funeral Home For Your Pre-Planning Needs

You’ve decided that it’s time to create a funeral pre-plan so your family won’t have to deal with difficult decisions after you’ve passed away. One key element of your plan is which funeral home to use. You want a facility that you know will take good care of your family when you’re gone. Here are a few considerations when researching the funeral homes in your community.

Get to Know the Staff and Management

Talk with the funeral directors in each facility that you are interested in. Ask about their management style and approach to customer service. You want to get a sense that they will be there when your family needs help with your final arrangements.

Speak with some of the staff as well. Look for a funeral home where the staff enjoy their work and have a good attitude about working with grieving people. Staff that can come up with creative solutions to problems your family may have are more helpful than those who can only recommend other products or services for purchase.

Access to Grief Counseling

Every funeral home will offer some form of grief counseling. Ask about all of their services and how your family may access them if needed. Some of the approaches funeral homes may take regarding grief counseling include:

  • They may have trained grief counselors on their staff. These people will hold grief support groups and offer individual counseling sessions. Some facilities may have counselors trained to work in special areas, such as with children.
  • Some facilities contract out the grief counseling to local specialists. Find out where your family would have to go to see these contract counselors to determine if it would be an inconvenience for your family.
  • Other funeral homes may refer your family to local resources, such as community support groups, non-profit groups and religious organizations.

Cemetery Use

Some funeral homes maintain a cemetery to which you may have access. Ask about the regulations under which the facility is run to determine if they will be too restrictive for your needs and for your family to work with. These regulations cover such items as:

  • the allowable materials, size and shape for head stones
  • who must prepare the grave site and install the head stone
  • what type of maintenance of the grave site is done by the facility
  • what responsibilities your family has in maintaining the site

Administrative Assistance

Some funeral homes offer clerical support for putting together and submitting claims for insurance and military benefits. These can be complicated, so you want to make sure your family submits the right materials the first time. Getting help from the funeral home to do these tasks will take some stress off of your family.

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Things To Know About Cremation

There are many people in the world that do not want to have an open casket funeral. In fact cremation services are becoming more and more popular. There are many misconceptions about cremation services. This article will outline four things that everyone thinking about cremation should know.

Funeral Services 

There is a common misconception that being cremated takes the place of a funeral. This is not the case in the least bit. Most of the time cremation occurs after a traditional funeral is held. So if a person wants to be cremated, but has always wanted a funeral they can have both. There is of course the option to be cremated right away, and in that case there would be no funeral. 

Handling The Remains

There is a wide variety of different things that a person can choose to have done with the ashes. The most common choices are that of being buried or kept in a urn. Although these are the most traditional methods of handling the remains there are multiple other options for handling the remains. A person can also have the remains scattered over a particular location. This option may take additional preparation depending on where the remains are to be scattered. A person may also choose to have their remains incorporated in jewelry, fireworks, or shot into space. 

Planning a Cremation

Most of the time a funeral home can help coordinate a cremation. This is especially true if there is to be a traditional funeral service before the cremation. There are also laws that vary from state to state on who can coordinate a cremation. Some states mandate a funeral director coordinate the cremation service. The best way to learn about the laws in your state are to call the crematory directly. They will be able to tell you the state laws in your area, and help you get the cremation planned. 

Cremation Products

There are certain products that you will need to be sure to purchase when getting ready for a cremation. If a traditional funeral is still on the agenda, be sure to purchase a casket. If the remains are to be put in a urn than the urn needs to be purchased. One of the most overlooked products for a cremation is a spot to bury the remains, and a lining for the casket. There will be rules and regulations set up by the cemetery that must be met. Talk to the cemetery manager to ensure regulations will be followed. 

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The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Cremation

When someone close to you passes away, you may be the one that has to make a decision about how their remains will be handled. If the deceased did not have an opinion about being buried or cremated, you may be wondering which will be the best option. The rate that cremation is used in the US is 45.3% according to data as recent as 2013, so the process may not be as uncommon as you think it is. Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of using cremation.


You Have Several Options For A Memorial

When you cremate the body, you will have multiple options for what you can do as a memorial for your loved one. Ashes can be buried or put into a mausoleum. You can spread ashes across a specific place that had meaning to them. Some people make jewelry with the ashes, or even use them for planting a tree. If they loved to travel, ashes can be spread in different places they liked to visit.

Cremation Is Considered Eco-friendly

Many people oppose a burial because they do not feel that it is environmentally friendly. This is because the casket is put underground, which can contain metal, plastic, and other materials that do not decompose well once they are buried. Some caskets are even wrapped in plastic before they are buried. Cremation makes the environmental footprint for the body much smaller, which makes a person feel good about their impact on the earth after they pass away.


You Won’t Have Alternative Options

When a body is buried, you can always have a body exhumed later to make different arrangements. For example, the body can be moved to a family burial plot, or even cremated later. Once a body is cremated though, you cannot go back on your decision. This may cause you to not decide on cremation if you aren’t 100% sure of what to do.

Cremation Can Cause Family Disputes

Burials can be a traditional process, with a viewing of the body and a burial. Cremations are quite different, with there often being options of what can be done with the ashes. This can be a point of disagreement between other family members, since the decision of what is done with the ashes is often out of their control. There may also be family members that don’t want cremation because they want to see the body one last time.

For more information about cremation, contract a local funeral home like Romero Family Funeral Home Corp. with your questions or concerns. 

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How To Make A Cement Grave-Marker

One way to save costs on the funeral and burial of a loved one when money is tight is to make a grave marker instead of buying one. A person with general carpentry skills can make a grave marker in a garage or basement. If you are strapped for cash, but still want your loved one to have a nice marker over their grave, here is how you can make one to mark their final resting place.

You Will Need:

  • 2″ x 4″ Pieces of Wood
  • Cement
  • Press-In Letters and Numbers
  • Carpenter’s Square
  • Hammer
  • Yard Stick
  • Nails
  • Trowel
  • Five-Gallon Plastic Pail
  • Water
  • Drop Cloth

Cemetery Regulations

You should check with the cemetery to find out what kind of regulations they have concerning the size and style of the grave markers. If you make a grave marker that doesn’t conform to the cemetery’s regulations, you may not be able to place the marker you make over the grave site.

Build Frame

Cut the pieces of 2″ x 4″ pieces of wood to the length you need to form the frame. Use a carpenter’s square to make sure the frame is perfectly squared at the corners. Nail the pieces wood together to form the frame.

Place the frame on top of a plastic drop cloth so the cement won’t adhere to the garage or basement floor once it dries. This will also help to make cleaning up afterwards easier.

Measure out on the frame where you are going to put each line for the name of the deceased, the dates of birth and death, and whatever other message you want to put on the grave marker. Place a mark on both sides of the frame to match your measurements – this will help to keep what you are writing level and even across the marker.

Lay Out Letters and Numbers

Lay out the press-in numbers on the floor above the frame in the order you want them. Take special care to make sure the name and dates are done correctly.

This will help in two ways: you’ll be able to make sure all the letters and numbers will fit properly in the frame, and you’ll be able to make any changes before you start pressing the letters and numbers into the cement.

Pour Cement

Mix the cement and water in a five-gallon plastic pail. Don’t use quick drying cement. You’ll need time to properly apply the press-in numbers and letters, and quick drying cement could set before you can do this correctly.

Pour the cement in the frame and smooth with a trowel.

Add Letters and Numbers

Place a yard stick across the frame at the spots you’ve marked on the side of the frame where the name will be placed. Take one press-in letter at a time and push it down into the cement to form the letter you want in the cement, and then remove the press-in letter.

Move the yard stick down to the next markings on the frame and press in the letters and/or numbers you want for that line on the grave marker. Keep on repeating this until you have everything written on the grave marker that you had planned.

Allow Cement to Set

Remove the frame after a couple of days. You can sand down the edges of the marker at this time if you want rounded edges. You can also sand the face of the marker to make sure you have a smooth finish.

After a week or so, the cement will be hard enough so you can pick it up without worry and take it to the grave site to install it over the final resting place of your loved one.

For more information, talk to a professional like An Thiel Monuments

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Answering Tough Questions Concerning Cremation As A Second Choice

When a loved one leaves life unexpectedly, you may want to give them a glorious funeral and lavish burial to show your respects. However, with the costs of a traditional funeral and burial coming in at more than $7,000 on average, the traditional methods you want may not be the most financially feasible. In these cases, cremation is always an attractive second choice because the bill can be thousands of dollars cheaper and much more affordable. However, not everyone wants to be cremated, and if you are in charge of making decisions for a passed loved one, it can bring about some rather tough questions.

What should you do if you are unsure if cremation would be something your loved one would have wanted?

When someone close to you passes away without a plan in place, it can leave you trying to guess what they would have wanted, which can be tough. The best way to find out about how they felt about cremation is to ask the closest living friends if the topic was ever mentioned. You should also take into consideration the religious beliefs of your loved one, as some do not agree with cremation. For example, people of the Jewish faith are usually not accepting of cremation as an end-of-life option.

What are your other options if cremation proves to be out of the question?

In some cases, your final conclusion will be that there is no way you can have your loved one cremated, due to whatever reasons, without feeling you are making a bad choice. If this is your situation, talk openly to the funeral home director about your dilemma. You may be able to find help paying for a traditional burial. For example, you may be able to set up a crowdfunding page to raise funds and put off the actual burial until a bit later. The funeral home director can also help you find ways to cut costs, such as opting out of embalming, which alone can save you as much as $1,290.

It is never easy to be left with big decisions about cremation and funeral arrangements after someone passes away, but this is all too often the case for many people. If you are struggling with decisions about whether your loved one should be cremated, be sure to talk openly with the funeral home director for advice and information to help you out. 

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Asked To Arrange A Funeral For Someone From The Philippines? Learn Their Traditions

If you are asked to plan a funeral for someone in the United States that is from the Philippines, you may find that they have different traditions than what you are used to. Below is information about these traditions so you can be prepared, and plan the funeral in the right way. 


Make sure you have a good florist on hand. Flowers are seen at almost any funeral, but the people from the Philippines use flowers to not only decorate the home or funeral home, but they give flowers to the family members as an expression of their respect and love for the deceased. You will be asked to place flowers all over the room the deceased is placed in. Some common flowers you may need to purchase are lilies, orchids, and mums. Roses may also be used. Because the wake lasts for a few days, the flowers are also used to mask the scent of the deceased. 


If the deceased person is from Manila, one of their traditions is hollowing out a tree trunk to bury the dead in. In some cases, the person that is ill selects the tree themselves. If the family wants to do this, help them find a tree that they can cut down either in their yard or in an area where you are allowed to do this. Provide them with the tools they need to hollow out the tree or hire someone to do it for them.


Some Philippines today take time to honor the dead. In many cases, they hold a wake that lasts for a few days. In some area, the wake is held in a family member’s home, or the home of the deceased. In other areas, the wake is held in a funeral home. Contact a local funeral home, such as Sosebee Funeral Home, for further assistance.

You may be asked to place festive funeral lights draped around the casket, along with some flowers, a box for people to pay a contribution, and a nice registry book with a pen near the casket.

In most cases, warm drinks and food are served by the family of the deceased throughout the wake. There may also be activities outside the home or funeral home, such as playing musical instruments, such as a guitar, singing, or people conversing with each other.

Talk with your family members that live in the Philippines about the traditions they follow so you can make sure you do everything in the right way.

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How To Plan Your Own Cremation Services

Have you decided to be cremated when you pass away? No matter how old you are at the present time, if you are planning your own funeral services, you are doing your loved ones a huge favor. Dealing with your death will already be difficult for them, and having to take care of funeral plans would be an added burden during a hard time. 

Meet With The Funeral Director – Planning your own funeral is something you want to do in person. Meet with the funeral director who can help you set everything up. From selecting the urn where your remains will be kept to planning a reception, the funeral director will make all of the arrangements for you. Be sure that you keep a record of all payments you have made, whether it is a partial payment, or whether you have paid for the funeral in full.

Involve A Trusted Person In Your Plans – Whether it’s a trusted friend or a family member, it just makes good sense to have somebody oversee things at the time of your death. That person should be aware of all that you have done in arranging for your cremation services. Be sure that this person knows where important papers are kept. Besides keeping pertinent records in a safe place, think about giving copies of them to the person you have selected to carry out your wishes.

Arrange For A Display – Some people, especially those who are not familiar with cremation, have a problem because there is no actual body to bid farewell. Consider having a display that will make things more personal. In this display, you could include photographs of you from the time you were a baby through present days, a collection of awards, items that depict your interests and hobbies, and even favorite articles of clothing, like a cowboy hat, tennis shoes or hiking boots.

Plan The Services – One of the great parts of planning your own funeral is that you can write your own obituary and there won’t be any mistakes. Besides including information about your birth place and the date you were born, consider adding interesting facts that many people don’t know about you. Which childhood memories are dear to you? What are your philosophies on life? Don’t be shy about writing down your accomplishments, as these are an important part of your life. Music would be a lovely addition, whether you select favorite hymns, classical music played on the piano or another instrument, or any other music you love.

Best wishes on planning your cremation services. Contact a funeral home, like Richard H Keenan Funeral Home, to get started today.

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For my mother's funeral, my sister and I spent a lot of time thinking about flowers for her funeral. We wanted beautiful, colorful flowers that reflected upon her energetic spirit and her love of bright, bold color. However, when we began to plan out her funeral with the funeral director, we were surprised to learn that different types of flowers had different meanings. Based on their meanings, some were appropriate for a funeral, and others were not. We had no idea about this, but I instantly became fascinated with the topic. I created this website to help educate others about the meanings of flowers and which are appropriate for funerals.


May 2016
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