Recently I discovered an interesting book, Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death by Joshua Slocum and Lisa Carlson. The book begins with a review of consumer issues related to death; from green burials to embalming to casket sales. The second half details laws, regulations, and facts associated with caring for the dead in all 50 states.
Why is this fodder for a frugal blog? First, the book asserts that 90 percent of Americans do not "shop a funeral". They go with the funeral home the family has always used. They don't compare prices. Why? The reason is obvious, they are grieving and decisions need to be made quickly. When my father died it was 11pm on a Friday night, and the hospital gave me 1 hour to decided on a funeral home! The other reason this is worthy of a frugal post is that the typical American plans only two funerals in his/her life. That simply is not enough experience to learn how to be frugal in this area.
Addressing this issues before crisis mode sets in is always wise. I encourage you to read the book and check out the Funeral Consumer's Allicance web site. Educate yourself now, save money, reduce stress on loved ones, and maybe you'll opt for a green burial to save money and go easy on the earth one last time.