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How to Cut Funeral Costs Now

Written By: Kelli B. Grant  |  Posted: Monday, September 13th, 2010

When planning a funeral, few families are prepared or informed enough to make smart financial decisions, and even fewer are in the mood to bargain. As a result, many spend more than they have to. "Death takes you by surprise, " says Joshua Slocum, the executive director for the Funeral Consumers Alliance, a consumer advocate. "Most of us, to our own detriment, don't plan for it."

That often leaves the family and friends of the deceased facing an untimely wave of big decisions and purchases and largely unaware of the federal rights and protections that can keep them from overpaying.
The average funeral (not including cemetery expenses) cost $6, 195 in 2006, the latest data available from the National Funeral Directors Association. That's up from $5, 180 in 2000. Although the recession has made frugality more of a social norm, shopping around for funeral expenses has retained its stigma.

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