Did you know that cremation was actually the standard to approaching death in Ancient Greece? Western culture has seen a resurgence in cremation since the classical period, but many people still believe that they have to hold a traditional funeral with a burial. 

However, traditional burials can be quite costly. Family and friends often want to honor the deceased, but it can be difficult on a budget.

Luckily, there are more and more burial alternatives arising every day. These burial alternatives are respectful and are much more affordable than a traditional burial.

Keep reading below to learn about three of the most affordable burial alternatives.

1. Cremation

Cremation has been growing as one of the most affordable and popular burial alternatives. The National Funeral Directors Association projected that in 2020 56.4% of Americans would choose cremation compared to only 37.5% choosing a traditional burial. 

You’re given a lot more flexibility if you opt for cremation. Cremated remains can be scattered in a special location, stored at home, or a bit of both. For those who want to have their loved ones close, cremation is one of the best ways to connect families with the deceased.

People who choose cremation can also go one step further and select a direct cremation. It’s not only a burial alternative, but it’s also one of the more popular funeral alternatives. With direct cremation, the body is cremated only days after the passing without any funeral or pre-funeral events. 

2. Burial at Sea

While technically described as a burial, a burial at sea is a bit different from the traditional burials you might be used to. Sea burials are quite simple: the body is lowered into the water, or the cremated remains are scattered on the sea.

Unattended sea burials are often far less costly than traditional burials, ranging from approximately $200 to $400. Attended sea burials, meaning one where friends and family accompany you, will cost you a bit more. 

It’s important to note that sea burials can’t be held just anywhere. There are a lot of regulations surrounding sea burials, so it’s wise to consult experts if it’s a burial alternative you’re seriously interested in.

3. Educating Beyond Life: Donating Your Body

One of the cheapest and most fulfilling alternatives to a traditional burial is donating your body to science. It may sound a bit morbid, but it’s actually a great way to help even when you can’t be alive to see the results.

Donating your body to science gives the medical community the opportunity to learn more about what makes the human body tick, especially since each body is unique. If you are interested in making a difference even after you’ve died, this is the perfect option.

It’s important to note that not everyone qualifies for body donation. For example, they won’t take the bodies of organ donors because only entire bodies are accepted.

Additionally, donating your body to science is perhaps the cheapest alternative to traditional burials. The medical institution you donate to will cremate the body for free and typically return it to the family within a year or two. Funeral costs aren’t provided, but a free cremation will lessen the financial burden if you choose to hold a service.

Burial Alternatives: A Unique Farewell

The way we view death and parting is rapidly changing, and we can see that through all the burial alternatives that have risen in the past few decades. There are plenty of options for people, however the three above are among the most affordable.

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