If you're in the dark about funeral costs, paying for a funeral can be a worry, but there are several ways to keep a funeral as affordable as possible.

Whether you're arranging a funeral for someone else or want to cover the future costs of your own funeral to support your children or spouse, our supportive team can help. In this guide, we provide a breakdown of funeral costs and help uncover ways to arrange an affordable send off.

Planning a funeral can be overwhelming and the cost can add to the stress. Since 2004, funeral costs have more than doubled from £1,835 to £4,141.[1]

It's important to remember though that you don't need to feel pressured to spend more than you can afford. Putting pressure on your finances is unlikely to be what your loved one would have wanted and choosing a small, intimate send off with personal touches to reflect a person's life can be just as meaningful.

There are several ways you can minimise funeral costs for you and your family. Prepaid funeral plans, for example, let you cover funeral costs in advance to either plan and pay for your own funeral or arrange a funeral for someone else.

[1] Basic funeral costs were £1,835 in 2004 and £4,141 in 2023 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs)

How much do funerals cost?

Planning a funeral can be overwhelming and the cost can add to the stress. In the UK, the average cost for a basic funeral is approximately £4,141, as reported in 2023. The cost has more than doubled over the years, increasing from £1,835 in 2004*.

The overall cost will depend on the type of funeral you would like. Important factors to consider include the location, type of coffin, type of service, funeral director fees, and any additional extras such as flowers or catering. But remember, it's important not to feel pressured to spend more than you can afford. Putting pressure on your finances is unlikely to be what your loved one would have wanted. Instead, choosing a small, intimate send off with personal touches to reflect a person's life can be just as meaningful.

If you know you'll be responsible for planning someone's funeral, being aware of the costs involved can help set your mind at rest and allow you to make informed choices about the best way to fulfil your loved one's funeral wishes.

There are several ways you can minimise funeral costs for you and your family. For example, you could arrange a direct cremation from just £1,199 and organise a personal ceremony separately. Additionally, prepaid funeral plans let you cover funeral costs in advance, allowing you to plan and pay for your own or another person’s funeral.

*Basic funeral costs were £1,835 in 2004 and £4,141 in 2023 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024)

Average funeral costs in the UK

Whether you're arranging a funeral or considering your own funeral wishes, the type of funeral you choose will have the biggest impact on how much the funeral will cost.

The costs of burial, cremation or direct cremation vary significantly. Here’s a breakdown:

Funeral type Average cost[2]
Burial £5,077
Cremation £3,795
Direct cremation £1,498
A Distinct Cremations attended cremation From £1,599
A Distinct Cremations direct cremation From £1,199

[2] Funeral costs by type taken from the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs

Burial costs

Black Coffin In Chapel

Burials are a traditional choice but tend to be the priciest option for funerals. On average, burial costs in the UK are around £5,077. The cost can vary significantly based on several factors, such as the burial plot location, the headstone, and grave preparation.

Those who choose a burial funeral often like to include other traditional funeral elements like a hearse, a car to transport immediate family, floral arrangements for the coffin and orders of service for the mourners in attendance, all of which contribute to the costs.

Cremation costs

Aylesbury Vale Crematorium chapel

Nowadays more people choose to be cremated than to be buried. Cremation costs average at £3,795 in the UK, but can vary depending on what you’d like to be included. A cremation funeral is cheaper than a burial, since the costs of a headstone and burial plot are not required.

The price of a cremation can vary, depending on how many people attend, when the service takes place, and whether it's led by a family member or a celebrant. Following the cremation ashes can be scattered, but if you would like them to be buried so your family has a grave to visit in future, this will cost extra.

Direct cremation costs

Family Outside By Table With Candles

A direct cremation is the most cost-effective way to have a funeral, costing on average £1,498. But with Distinct Cremations, it's even less at £1,199. The cremation takes place without any mourners present and allows you to celebrate your loved one's life in your own personal way instead.

It is a popular choice for those who either don't have the money for an extravagant funeral service or would rather gift the money to their family. Families may like to spend additional money on a celebration of life or ashes scattering event in remembrance of their loved one.

What affects the costs of different funeral types?

Burial

Those who choose a burial funeral often like to include other traditional funeral elements like a hearse, a car to transport immediate family, floral arrangements for the coffin and orders of service for the mourners in attendance, all of which contribute to the costs.

Cremation

A cremation funeral is cheaper than a burial and costs like a headstone and burial plot are not required. Aspects of a cremation service that can affect the price include how many mourners are present, the day and time of the service and whether the service is family-led or led by a celebrant.

Direct cremation

Direct cremation is the most affordable funeral option. It is a popular choice for those who either don't have the money for an extravagant funeral service or would rather gift the money to their family. Families may like to spend additional money on a celebration of life or ashes scattering event in remembrance of their loved one.

Get in touch

At Distinct Cremations, we specialise in direct cremation services and simple funeral plans and direct cremation services. Our funeral services can be organised at the time of need, or you can set up a funeral plan to set up and pay for a funeral for yourself or someone else in advance.

If you'd like more information about the costs of our services and what's included, please give us a call to chat with our friendly team.

Call us on 01543 212000

How to reduce funeral costs

Looking for ways to reduce the cost of a funeral is a practical consideration. Your loved one wouldn’t want you to feel stressed over funeral costs or get into debt paying for a funeral that's not affordable for you. Many people prefer to prioritise money for their families over having an extravagant funeral.

There are many ways you can reduce funeral costs and still have a unique and personal funeral that honours a loved one's memory.

Choose a direct cremation

Choosing a direct cremation significantly reduces funeral costs. Since direct cremation bypasses the need for embalming, a viewing, and a costly casket, it offers a more affordable alternative while still respecting the dignity of your loved one.

This choice allows families to allocate funds more meaningfully, perhaps towards a memorial service that can be planned without the immediate financial pressures that often accompany traditional funeral arrangements.

Call us today to arrange a direct cremation from £1,199.

Choose a small, intimate service

For a more personal farewell without high costs, consider an attended direct cremation from £1,599. This option includes a direct cremation plus a private service for up to 8 or 20 people. It's family-led, allowing you to personalise the ceremony at one of 40 crematoriums across the UK. This choice offers a meaningful way to say goodbye in a close-knit setting, ensuring a dignified service without the financial strain of larger funerals.

Reduce memorial costs

To reduce memorial costs, consider saving over time or using funds from your loved one's estate. This approach allows for financial flexibility and eases the burden of immediate expenses.

For the venue, actively shop around to compare costs and services. Opting to host memorial drinks or a buffet meal at your home can significantly reduce expenses while providing a warm, personal setting for guests to reminisce and celebrate the life of your loved one.

Regarding the final resting place, scattering ashes in a meaningful local body of water, park, or even your own garden can significantly save on costs. This gesture allows for a personal touch without the need for expensive arrangements.

Alternative ways to save

  • Set up a free online memorial or charity page in memory
  • Plant a tree - tree planting is included with our Go Greener service
  • Donate your body to the Human Tissue Authority
  • Include personal touches like eulogies, poems, readings, photographs, music or a unique dress code

Average funeral costs by region

Where you live in the country also makes a difference to how much a funeral costs. The South West and North East have the most affordable funeral costs on average, whereas the most expensive area is London.

Region Average cost[3]
North West England £3,802
North East England £3,973
Scotland £4,030
South West England £4,032
Yorkshire & the Humber £4,065
East & West Midlands £4,150
Wales £4,286
South East & East of England £4,643
London £5,171

If you live in a more expensive area, choosing a nationwide funeral provider could help you save money. Funeral providers that cater to the whole of the UK will have set prices for their services which may well work out cheaper than your local funeral directors.

[3] Funeral costs by region taken from the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs

Choosing a funeral provider

The funeral provider you choose will also impact the cost of a funeral. To make sure you're getting the best price, you can compare providers that specialise in your preferred type of funeral.

Consider which extras are included and excluded.

  • If there are aspects of the funeral included that you don't want, you could be paying more than you need to.
  • But if there are aspects of the funeral that you know you definitely do want, check whether or not the funeral director includes these in their prices as if not you will need to pay extra.

A low cost funeral with Distinct Cremations prioritises simplicity. Our cremation services include nothing unnecessary and are delivered at an affordable cost.

Cremation with Distinct

A fuss-free funeral with Distinct Cremations

  • An unattended cremation without mourners or an intimate attended cremation for close friends and family
  • A service without pomp and ceremony giving you the freedom to include personal touches
  • A compassionate and attentive team to make arrangements, answer questions and support with paperwork
  • The option to organise a separate celebration of life that's personal and unique to your loved one
  • Cheaper than a traditional funeral, with prices starting from just £1,199
Traditional Funeral

A traditional funeral

  • A burial or cremation funeral held in a traditional setting like a church or chapel with mourners present
  • A formal and traditional service that usually follows a fixed format and may have less flexibility
  • Funeral and service coordination from a funeral director
  • Service may include extras like a hearse, limousines and pallbearers and is usually followed by a wake
  • Costs on average £4,141[4] for a basic funeral
    [4] The average cost of a basic funeral in 2023 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs)

Funerals with Distinct Cremations

Our unattended and simple attended cremations offer pared-back and cost-effective alternatives to traditional funerals.

For additional information, please read our CMA standardised price list.

Unattended Cremation

From £1,199

Our unattended cremation is a great choice for those looking for a simple, low-cost unattended cremation without a funeral ceremony. Unattended cremations take place with no service or mourners present at our high-quality crematoria where dignified care is guaranteed throughout.

Attended Cremation

From £1,599

Our attended, personal cremation is perfect for those looking for a fuss-free farewell and a final chance to say goodbye. With our dignified and affordable attended cremations you can have up to 8 people attend a 10 minute service or up to 20 people attend a 20 minute service.

Breakdown of funeral costs

Some funeral costs will be necessary regardless of the type of funeral you choose. Here’s a breakdown of typical funeral costs:

  1. Death certificate
    Funeral providers need a death certificate before they can carry out the funeral. This costs £11 and can be obtained after registering a death with the government.
  2. Doctor’s fee
    The doctor's fee to confirm the death costs £82 and is needed unless a coroner is investigating the cause of death.
  3. Coffin, casket or shroud
    Different options can vary quite widely in cost. We provide the choice of a simple wooden coffin or an eco-friendly coffin made from reclaimed and recycled wood as part of our Go Greener option.
  4. Funeral director or funeral service provider
    Both modern funeral providers and traditional funeral directors are experienced with arranging funerals and provide you with guidance and support. They will collect and care for the deceased until the funeral, arrange the funeral itself and transport the deceased to the funeral.
  5. Crematorium fees or burial fees
    For a burial, there will be costs for buying and opening a burial plot as well as church or cemetery fees. For a cremation funeral, there will be crematorium fees to be paid. At Distinct Cremations, these crematorium fees are always covered and included in our prices.

There are also some optional extras you may like to consider but you don't have to have if you'd like to keep costs down.

  • Headstone
  • Urn
  • Flowers
  • Memorial plaque
  • Order of service sheets
  • Obituary or funeral notice (in newspaper or online)
  • Limousine
  • Hearse
  • Pallbearers
  • Embalming
  • Viewing of deceased
  • Priest, minister or celebrant

Ways of paying for a funeral

Being aware of the different ways to pay for a funeral allows you to choose the payment option that suits you best.

You can also make sure a funeral you're arranging for someone else hasn't been paid for already or find out how you can cover the costs of your own funeral.

Family Sitting On The Beach


Paying for someone else’s funeral

  • The deceased's estate
    If you are the executor of someone's will or their closest living relative you can use money from their savings or assets to pay for their funeral. Receiving money from someone's estate can take time though, so you may initially have to cover the funeral costs yourself.
  • Own savings
    If you know the individual who has died hasn’t got any assets to cover the cost of their funeral, you can pay for it with your own money if you are willing and able to.
Green British Fields With Footpath


Paying for your own funeral in advance

  • Funeral plan
    With a funeral plan, you can choose the type of funeral you would like and pay for it yourself in advance. Doing so gives you peace of mind that the costs of your funeral will be covered and that your funeral will go ahead according to your wishes.
  • Other later life financial planning products
    Other products you can pay into to receive a payout on your death include life insurance and over 50s life cover.

Help that's available to cover funeral costs

Worried about how you would be able to pay for a funeral? There are a number of organisations that may be able to support you to ease the financial burden.

Government support

If you already receive government benefits, you can apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment (or a Funeral Support Payment in Scotland). Your eligibility depends on the existing benefits you receive and your relationship with the deceased.

This assistance can help with various costs such as burial or cremation fees, travel, moving the body over 50 miles within the UK, and necessary funeral documents.

You can also get up to £1,000 for additional funeral expenses, including the funeral director's fees, flowers, or the coffin. However, this payment usually doesn't cover all the funeral costs.

Employer support

Some employers offer death-in-service cover which provides a payout of several times an individual's annual salary if they die whilst employed by the company.

Children's funeral support

The Children's Funeral Fund for England is government support that covers the cost of a burial or cremation for someone under 18 so that these costs don't fall on the family. Other costs associated with the funeral may also be covered.

Policies and plans

Always check whether your loved one had a funeral plan to avoid paying for a funeral that's already been paid for. Check for any pre-existing life insurance or over 50s life cover policies too which could help you cover the funeral costs.

Charity support

Some charities also offer support with funeral costs if the individual suffered from a particular condition or was part of a specific group, club or profession.

Local council

If there is not enough money to cover the funeral costs via any of the above means, the local council will arrange a public health funeral. The family of the deceased may not be able to make any choices about the funeral arrangements.

Other helpful resources

Arrange a funeral from £1,199

Arrange a Funeral

If you’ve had a recent bereavement and you’re looking to arrange a funeral straightaway we can help you arrange a caring and low cost funeral.

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Funeral plans - a different way to pay

Signing papers

Interested in funeral plans? Find out how flexible payment options and protection from price rises can help you manage your funeral costs.

Find out about funeral plans

We offer the highest level of support, but don't take our word for it

Below are a selection of reviews from those who have purchased a funeral through Distinct Cremations.

From the very first phone call I felt things were going to be handled well. Kindness compassion and helpful ness were shown throughout. I was kept informed about all the details and the person delivering the ashes was so respectful and kind taking the time to ask about my husbands life. This is who will handle my cremation.
Received excellent service from Distinct Cremations. The passing of my stepfather was very distressing and emotional time for my family. David at DC kept us up to date with the arrangements, and talked us through each step of the plan, and kept the admin to a minimum. The cost of the Direct cremation was as advertised, which I found to be good value. Thank you everyone at DC.
Excellent service. Professional but still friendly considering the subject being discussed can be awkward for some people.
Very good very helpful customer service Price was very competitive overall very happy
Polite prompt friendly service
Great service, easy to arrange. Very friendly people
Very easy to set up.
Excellent service from Distinct Cremations. My contact was Kerry who was extremely efficient, polite, professional and thoughtful. Every step of my father's cremation was very well explained from start to finish with plenty of contact but only when required. Thank you for a smooth process. I have no issues at all with Distinct and my husband and I will be taking out a plan ourselves in the near future.
5.0
702 reviews
Feefo Gold 2024
Feefo Gold 2024
5.0
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