Anchor Intro: Ceremonies like weddings and funerals are often expensive affairs. But with funerals, most of the planning is done last-minute, and saving money is the last thing on anybody's mind. But there are solutions. Bankrate.com has some tips on planning for the inevitable.
Voice over 1: Nobody's prepared for the death of a loved one, even an experienced funeral director.
SOT: "My dad just died in October. I could not think, if I was not in the funeral industry, of going and visiting four funeral homes before I made a decision at that time. I had enough time handling it working in the business."
Voice over 2: And that's why it's tough to deal with the high cost of dying. The average cost of a funeral is now more than $6,500. But there are ways to save, if you plan ahead.
SOT: "The key is to treat purchasing funeral arrangements exactly the way you'd handle any other major purchase in your family."
Voice over 3: Bill's a volunteer with Funeral Consumers Alliance, a national nonprofit with local chapters that offer free unbiased advice.
Voice over 4: Some local chapters can hook you up with discounted services, one even operates their own funeral home. But any will steer you to the least expensive alternatives.
SOT: "If you're shopping carefully, you should be able to get what we call a direct cremation. You should be able to get that for well under a thousand dollars."
Voice over 5: Another example is caskets. You can buy one online, sometimes for less than half the retail price, then have it delivered the next day to a funeral home.
Standup: Bottom line? The way to save on this kind of an expense is plan ahead. Think about what you want and how much it's going to cost. It's not only going to save your family money, it's going to save them lots of stress too. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.