Smart Ways to Save on Funeral Costs

From Costco caskets to cremation, there are steps you can take to avoid overpaying for a funeral.

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After learning his father had a terminal illness and only a few months to live, Ed Howard tried to plan ahead for a funeral service, spending hours calling around to compare costs. But even though he’s a consumer lawyer, he still got tripped up. He didn’t realize until much later that Costco sells moderately priced caskets. He was also surprised by the pricing of headstone engraving, especially that it would cost by the letter. “I didn’t even know to ask about that,” says Howard, senior counsel for the Center for Public Interest Law, in San Diego.

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Mary Kane
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Mary Kane is a financial writer and editor who has specialized in covering fringe financial services, such as payday loans and prepaid debit cards. She has written or edited for Reuters, the Washington Post, BillMoyers.com, MSNBC, Scripps Media Center, and more. She also was an Alicia Patterson Fellow, focusing on consumer finance and financial literacy, and a national correspondent for Newhouse Newspapers in Washington, DC. She covered the subprime mortgage crisis for the pathbreaking online site The Washington Independent, and later served as its editor. She is a two-time winner of the Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards sponsored by the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. She also is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, where she teaches a course on journalism and publishing in the digital age. She came to Kiplinger in March 2017.