The Cost of Dying: What a Funeral Can Cost


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — It’s something we don’t like to talk about. Especially, when it involves our own families.

What if someone you loved passed away today?

Do you know what you would do when it comes to funeral services?

Do you know what it entails?

How much it costs?

Families have buried their loved ones at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens in Springfield for more than 100 years. They’ve buried them there since 1905 to be exact.

It adds up to around 40,000 people.

Before those people were laid to rest, their loved ones had to make some big decisions.

Unfortunately, they are expensive decisions.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, in 2014, the average funeral with a viewing a burial cost $7,181.

Compared to just 10 years earlier in 2004, it cost $5,582.

That’s a nearly 29 percent increase.

The average funeral with viewing and cremation, in 2014, cost $6,078.

Prices, in general, vary from funeral home to funeral home.

Every funeral establishment must have a price check list.

It’s the law.

Brent Barnes is the Assistant General Manager at Greenlawn Funeral Home.

“The funeral home has to give you a general price list. And, anyone who wants to walk in, can do so,” Barnes said.

That way, you know what you’re buying before you walk in the door.

Some even post them online.

Still, sitting down and talking with someone is always a good idea.

“They’re going through one of the most difficult times in their entire life, and so, the easier I can make it for them, the better they’re gonna feel,” Barnes said.

The folks at Greenlawn Funeral Home tell us, an average traditional funeral service here, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000.

Clay Adams is the General Manager at Greenlawn Funeral Home.

“Your loved one doesn’t leave our care,” Adams said. “So, everything is done here and completed here. It’s just a couple extra steps that set us a part,  but probably make us a little more expensive,  than other funeral homes in town.”

“There’s a lot of decisions,” Barnes said. “We sit down with them and go over everything with them and make sure they’re aware of all the decisions to make.”

Tthe first question they need to know: traditional funeral or cremation?

From there, they talk details.

“If they want to view their loved one for the public, we’ve got to have embalming,” Barnes said.

The most expensive item is the casket.

Prices can range anywhere from $900 to $20,000, depending on what type of casket you like.

But if you didn’t know, there’s another option: buying your own, on your own.

It’s something you have the right to do.

But, it’s buyer beware.

Missy Blackwell-Headlee is the owner of Midwest Cremation and Funeral Services, LLC.

“What some families don’t realize, is when you purchase those things outside of a funeral home, a funeral home has no control over their quality,” Blackwell-Headlee said. “If you purchase a casket 10 years ago and bring it in to be used, and it’s badly damaged, it can’t be fixed. If you purchase one from a funeral home and there’s something wrong and you notice it,  it can be fixed, it can be replaced, it can be repaired.”

Midwest Cremation and Funeral Services is a smaller, family owned funeral home in Springfield.

Blackwell-Headlee said they’re a less traditional and more affordable option.

They’ve been in Springfield almost 5 years.

“In today’s world, we know times are tough,” Blackwell-Headlee said. “And, people shouldn’t have to chose between groceries or providing a simple service for their loved one.”

The average graveside service here is $2,500.

“We do see a lot of people wanting to buy plots,” Blackwell-Headlee said. “We’re also seeing a huge shift to cremation.”

You can also rent your casket for cremation– something not a lot of people know they can do.

“If someone wants a traditional service, an open casket service, prior to cremation so a family has more of a chance to start the grieving process with the body present,” Blackwell-Headlee said.

Another option, that again, you can look into.

Don’t forget those bells and whistles.

From necklaces, to smaller urns, scattering tubes, blown glass, even a healing companion like Gracie Faith.

“We’ve gotten a lot of good compliments already and it’s helped a lot of people already,” Barnes said.

What it comes down to is you spend what’s in your budget and the staff will always work with you.

Cemetary costs are also something to consider.

That’s if the funeral home you choose doesn’t have its own cemetary.

You also don’t have to have a vault.

It’s actually up to the cemetary if they require a vault or not. 

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