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Tips For Planning A Funeral On A Budget

Funerals are not the most pleasant experience for all of us. On top of that, they can be extremely expensive. The average cost of a funeral is around $8,000, and can be even more. However, you dont necessarily have to spend a fortune to say goodbye to your loved ones. Funerals can be inexpensive, yet meaningful. Heres how.

  1. Location is important

Where you choose to have the funeral service can really affect your budget. Instead of a funeral home, if you hold the service in your own home, then a major portion of your expenses will be cut. You can also have it at a church, where the cost will be much cheaper than a funeral home. Clergy members may not charge you, but its respectful to offer at least some amount of money.

  1. Dont over-spend on caskets

Caskets are usually the most expensive parts of funerals. Especially if you are on a tight budget, you can always opt for cheaper ones. For example, a standard 20-gauge casket will be priced at around $1,000. Cloth-covered caskets will cost you even less.

  1. Dont buy flowers

If you want to save money, dont hire a florist, or get your flowers from the funeral home. You can just get them on your own from your own gardens. Even if you dont have a garden, ask relatives and close friends who do.

  1. Skip embalming

These days, many people choose to opt out of embalming. The formaldehyde used in it is toxic for the environment and not only that, it increases your bill by a significant amount.

  1. Make use of veterans benefit

If the deceased served in the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs will have funeral and burial benefits available. Learn more on their website.


4 Top Funeral And Memorial Ideas For Veterans

Letting go of loved ones forever is never easy. However, funerals are also a celebration of the life that was lived. Especially for those who served in the military and made their country safe, theres plenty to celebrate and honor.


At National Memorial Planning, we have funeral and memorial merchandise designed specifically for veterans. We have Marine Veteran caskets, Army Veteran caskets, Navy Veteran caskets, Air Force Veteran caskets and more. We also offer various designs of veteran monuments made from different materials.


There are a number of ways you can make use of such merchandises. Here are the top 4 ideas that will help you out.


  1. Honor the sacrifices they made

Veterans spend a huge part of their lives serving their country, making many sacrifices to keep their country and all the people in it safe from danger. Their devotion to their career should definitely be highlighted. Mention and display all their medals and awards, from the smallest to the biggest.


  1. Bury them in their uniform

Another respectable way of honoring all a veteran has done for the country is by burying them in their uniform. This is a personal choice though. Many prefer it as it represents how proud they were of their profession. However, you may have to plan ahead.


  1. Dont forget the national flag

In the U.S, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) will provide a flag free of cost when a veteran is deceased. All you have to do is fill in a form which is available at post offices. Funeral directors can also help you get a flag. Usually, the flag is draped on the casket during the funeral.


  1. Celebrate their home life too

As important as it is that you highlight their career, you should not forget their life at home too and the kind of person they were. It is quite a task to balance a military career and personal life. So, dont forget to remember their dedication to family.

5 Useful Tips on Funeral Planning

We will have to plan a funeral at least once in our lives, whether its for a loved one or we are pre-planning our own. However, funerals can be very expensive, especially if not done right. For this, it is extremely important that your funeral home is trustworthy and has your best interests at heart.


Here are 5 useful tips to help you plan any funeral efficiently:


  1. Know the basics of a funeral

The first thing is to inform yourself about what happens at a funeral, and the options you can choose from. First is to prepare the corpse, then comes the ceremony, followed by the interment. You will have to choose cremation or embalming, where the service will be held, whether there will be body viewing, ground or tomb burial, and so on.

  1. Always ask for a general price list, if you are not given one

When you inquire at a funeral home, you must always be given a price list. If not, ask for one. You can even take this home if you need more time to think. Even if youre on a call, the funeral home should inform you about the price list one way or the other. This will help make informed decisions.

  1. You dont always have to choose a package

Many funeral homes offer packages but they may include too much or too little, depending on your needs. Know that you are not required to buy the whole package. You can unbundle and buy individually.

  1. Learn what you have to know about caskets

Caskets are often the most expensive part of a funeral. They can even go up to thousands of dollars. When you approach a funeral home, you should be shown the price list of caskets first. Only expensive caskets may be displayed, so dont hesitate to ask to see the cheaper ones.

  1. You can always opt for more affordable options

If you cannot afford to spend a lot, you can always opt for less expensive options like a direct cremation or a direct burial. These can cut out a lot of expenditures and are more budget-friendly.

These Are The Various Funeral Merchandise Available To You

Whether you are pre-planning your own funeral, or planning the funeral of a family member or friend, one thing you will be needing is funeral merchandise. Depending on your choice of ceremony, we at National Memorial Planning, offer various kinds of funeral merchandise you can choose from. They are listed below.

  • Caskets

Caskets are one of the most common funeral merchandise used. They are available in a wide variety of materials and styles. At National Planning Memorial, we offer steel caskets, semi-precious metal caskets, wood caskets and caskets especially made for veterans. Steel caskets, as well as different kinds of wooden caskets, are some of the most common.

  • Cremation Urns

For people who choose to be cremated, cremations urns are a necessary merchandise. We offer various kinds of urns which can fall under two main categories Brass Cremation Urns and Natural Quarried Marble Cremation Urns.

Depending on your style and budget, we have plenty of designs under the two categories. For example, under brass urns, we have different models like Bronze, Platinum engraved and Copper Oak. Under marble urns, we have Evermore, Legacy and Dogwood models. All our cremation urns are carefully crafted with a smooth finish to be the perfect container to hold your loved ones ashes.

  • Monuments and Memorials

Monuments and memorials permanently commemorate the life your deceased loved one has lived. They also serve as a place where friends and family can come to pay their respects from time to time.

At National Memorial Planning, we have a vast assortment of permanent monuments and memorials made from granite in different colors (both single and companion), and bronze (both single and companion). We can also do custom scenes, laser etchings, benches, vases as well as memorial portraits.

With the variety of products and services we offer, you can be sure that National Planning Memorial will lift a burden by taking care of all your funeral merchandise needs with professionalism.

Top Reasons Why You Should Pre-Plan Your Funeral

Its no doubt that death is an uncomfortable subject to talk about. You may think that planning your own funeral in advance is as grim as it gets, but its extremely important. In fact, many people have considered pre-planning their own funeral a must. After all, it has so many benefits. Some of them are listed below.


  1. Allow your family to grieve and mourn in peace

When your time comes, your family will undoubtedly be under a lot of emotional stress. They will be in grief. On top of this, if you do not pre-plan your own funeral, they will have to deal with the extra burden of planning it for you. But if you have all your affairs in order before you die, it means they will have time to properly mourn and give you a meaningful final goodbye.


  1. Lift the financial burden from your family

Funerals can be very financially draining. This means that your grieving family will have an extra burden on their shoulders too. But when you pre-plan, you make the payments for your own funeral beforehand. This removes a huge financial load from your family, and allows them to focus on making your funeral meaningful for them.


  1. Enables you to have a funeral exactly the way you want it

When you pre-plan, you have the freedom to make every choice the way you want it. Do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you want an open casket or closed casket? Which music do you want to be played? In short, every wish of yours on how you want to be let go can be followed. If you have any specific preferences, all you have to do is list them down on your funeral plan. Even if you dont want a funeral, that too can be followed.

What Happened When Emma Couldn’t Finish Her Memorial Planning

Though I didn’t know Emma personally, recently, I learned the sad story of what happened when time prevented her from finishing her memorial planning.

Here’s her story, as told to me.

Emma’s father and two of her three brothers had been morticians. From what she knew of the family business, she had decided to take care of and pay for her own final expenses. Her sister had bequeathed her a tidy sum, and she earmarked a portion for this purpose.

Her reason was twofold: she wanted to save her children the emotional ordeal they would have to face at the time of her passing; and she knew exactly how she wanted things to be. She had even sent each of her four children a letter well in advance, outlining her final wishes and telling them that she would take care of her own preplanning. She signed the letter in her warm style, “My love to you, always.” Each of her children read the letter, deeply saddened by the foreshadowing, yet feeling deeply loved by their take-charge mother.

Emma was relieved that the letter was written, and that she and her in-town daughter would be meeting with the funeral home director the next day.

Only one thing left – choosing her memorial stone. Here again, she knew exactly what she wanted: a granite stone to match the others on the family’s cemetery plot; and both of her married names to be etched into the stone.

Emma’s first husband had passed away unexpectedly. At the time, Emma was still in the hospital, having just given birth to their son and third child. When she remarried nine years later, her children were not keen on their new stepfather.

Emma never did visit the memorial stone company — that day, or any other. Unfortunately, her daughter, a busy working mom, worked those same hours. Emma didn’t want to go by herself, so she patiently waited.

At the time Emma passed, her family was in a state of discord, which reared its ugly head one final time.

Emma’s vengeful daughter-in-law — they had not been on good terms for years — took charge of memorial stone arrangements, since Emma’s daughter had moved away, one son had had a stroke, and her other son and daughter had passed away a few years earlier.

The daughter-in-law ignored Emma’s wishes entirely. The stone she chose was not granite and she instructed the stonecutter to show only the first married name.

When Emma’s daughter visited the cemetery, she was saddened at what she saw. If only they had carved out the time, this sad scene could have been avoided.

I don’t often hear stories like Emma’s, but I know they’re not uncommon. If you would like to avoid a similar situation, why not contact us? You may not want to wait.

The Distinctive Value of Memorial Benches

Many people today will choose to pay tribute to their loved ones using memorial benches. All memorials are special, and people can certainly express their creativity and individuality through the memorials that they choose.

Some people will specifically choose memorial benches because they think that they’re perfect for the distinct individuals that they are trying to celebrate.

Memorial benches certainly look very different compared with many of the other memorials that people might choose. They have more components, at least visually. They resemble pieces of furniture, even though they will not always be used that way in practice.

This makes them stand out strongly from many of the other memorials. Their shape will allow memorial benches to create interesting shadows at certain points throughout the day, and their strong and angular appearance definitely commands attention.

Some people want to be remembered using memorial benches because they like the idea of a memorial that could technically serve a practical purpose. People can sit on outdoor benches and admire the surrounding landscape. Many people will not use memorial benches the way they would use other park benches, of course. However, this is still something that could happen, and that might enhance the appeal of memorial benches to some individuals.

Many memorials exist purely for their own sake, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. This may not necessarily be the case for a memorial bench. Even when memorial benches are functionally no different from other memorials, they can still create a very different visual effect.

Contact us to find out more about memorial benches.

Strong Personal Emotions Associated With Memorial Urns

While there are people who make it quite clear what a memorial urn is and what it contains, other people will tend to display these precious objects in a way that is much more subtle within a household.

The memorial urn might be positioned alongside vases and figurines in a glass display case or on a shelf. Some people keep memorial urns in their bedrooms and not in their living rooms. Other people might keep the memorial urns tucked away entirely, so they will truly be the only ones that will see them.

There is certainly no objectively correct location for a memorial urn. People will all want to honor their loved ones in different ways. For some people, putting a memorial urn in a central location within a given house will feel appropriate.

Other people might want to be more private about the memorial urn. They might not want to have other people ask them questions about it. Keeping an urn out of sight might make the urn and everything that it represents feel more personal for some people.

One of the great things about memorial urns in the first place is that people have this option if it feels right for them. Outdoor monuments are typically part of landscapes that are open to the general public. A memorial urn can be placed anywhere.

People can also change their minds about the location for the memorial urn, of course, allowing them to modify their approach with time.

Contact us for more of an introduction to memorial urns.

Custom Memorials and Symbolism for Different Individuals

When many people design memorials for their loved ones, they want to find a way to make these memorials appropriate for these specific and unique individuals. After all, a memorial is all about commemorating someone. If the memorial strongly reflects something of who they are, it can be particularly successful at preserving their memory. There are many different ways of making this happen.

However, with custom memorials, it’s particularly easy to create something that truly captures the personality of the deceased individuals in question. Visual artists often try to get a sense of the inner selves of the people who they are trying to represent in their artwork.

Often times, the personality of the people in question will come across even if everything in the painting or drawing is very subtle. It is possible to communicate a lot of information very quickly using visual imagery of all kinds, which is part of the value of all visual arts. People can do something similar when they get memorials that have custom scenes.

For instance, a custom scene involving a cowboy on a horse riding off into the sunset might be perfect for people who had a strong sense of freedom and determination throughout their lives, given the cultural symbolism attached to cowboys. People who lived in the country throughout their lives and who loved it might appreciate memorials with ranch scenes. These custom scenes for custom memorials can be simple while still making a very profound impression.

Contact us in order to get more of a sense of the possibilities involved with custom memorials.

School District Honors Long-Time Educator with Memorial Bench

The bench is red, the woman was strong. She dedicated her life to education. According to a recent article from the Los Angeles Times, the Burbank Unified School District has now dedicated a memorial bench in her honor.

Joan Baca became a teacher at Franklin Elementary School in Burbank in 1965. In 1983, she became the principal for Washington Elementary School, where she remained until her retirement in 2001. During her time as principal, her obituary noted, the school won awards and gained recognition for its programs, including an initiative to place deaf and hard of hearing students in regular classrooms, as well as an outdoor science program and a program for bilingual students.

After her retirement, she worked for Cal State Northridge’s Student Teacher/ Credentialing Unit, the Times reported. The current principal at Washington Elementary School stated that even after contracting cancer, Mrs. Baca continued to work every day, almost to the end, because “that was Joan Baca. She was known for never stopping or slowing down.” She passed away in September, 2016, just a couple of weeks before her eighty-second birthday.

A tree had been planted at the elementary school in honor of Mrs. Baca’s retirement. The bright red memorial bench now sits beneath it; a fitting reminder of the woman who was described in her obituary as friendly and full of energy and enthusiasm. “She made the world a better place,” the obituary read.

Memorial benches are a way to provide a permanent reminder of loved ones when they have left the world. If you’d like to discuss your ideas and desires for a memorial bench to honor someone important in your life,contact us.