Those considering the most economical solution for final disposition should compare cremation costs to burial costs.
The first cost difference between cremation and burial comes with preparation of the body. To prepare a body for burial, funeral directors must disinfect and embalm it. For those who intend to have an open casket for the burial, stylists must prepare the body for viewing, including application of specialized techniques and cosmetics.
Those who choose cremation without a viewing can avoid these fees entirely. There is no need to embalm remains prior to cremation, and without a viewing, there is no need to further prepare the body. If, however, the family would like a private viewing before cremation or an open-casket funeral service, fees for these additional services would still apply.
Burial Casket vs. Cremation Container
Like preparation cost, the price increases substantially when the family decides to include a private and/or public viewing. A casket is not needed for a cremation without viewing. Most crematories only require a simple cremation container. Burial caskets, on the other hand, start at around five times that amount and can vary dramatically in cost.
There are other fees associated only with the burial option. Families must buy a cemetery plot, pay a fee for transportation of the body to the cemetery, pay for grave opening and closing fees, and pay for a headstone. Families may also need to pay for perpetual care of the cemetery plot.
After cremation is complete, the only additional required cost is that of a cremation container or urn to store the remains.
No matter how you compare the costs, cremation involves far fewer costs, and typically lower costs, than traditional burial.