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December 19, 2017, 10:56 am

Average Cost of a Funeral in the U.S.

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

We budget for a lot of things in life – kids, a home, college, retirement. There’s so much going on in the near future it’s easy to forget about events long, long down the road. Plus, most of those things aren’t the nicest to think about.

Sure, no one wants to think about funeral expenses, but that’s what we’re hinting at. Once we’re gone we don’t have to worry about the cost, but our family members will. Want to know how much they’ll have to spend to pay their final respects?

Let’s take a look at today’s funeral expenses.

Funeral Expenses

Like everything else in our global economy, funeral expenses keep steadily increasing. The overall expense if going to vary by location, but the average funeral costs is around $11,000 according to

If you don’t have insurance for final expenses these are the funeral costs your family will have to cover.

Traditional Burial: Basic Services

  • Funeral planning
  • Notice preparation
  • Sheltering the remains
  • Cemetery arrangements
  • Permits and death certification preparation

Traditional Burial: Additional Services

  • Transportation
  • Embalming
  • Viewing fees
  • Ceremony/Memorial services
  • Casket
  • Graveside services
  • Grave liner


More people are choosing to be cremated, partly because it’s about half the cost of a traditional funeral. However, a number of the basic funeral services/costs above will apply with a cremation. There will so be additional fees for the crematory services. Instead of a casket, family will have to purchase a vessel or container for the ashes.

Third Party Vendors

A funeral is a huge undertaking in a very short amount of time. Getting everything lined up requires the assistance of numerous professionals even for an intimate event with close family and friends. The funeral home coordinators will work with a number of third party vendor to get everything ready in a matter of days.

These third party vendors charge for their own services on top of the basic funeral expenses. They’ll either charge your family directly or charge the funeral director who will then add the expense to the funeral preparation fees.

Some of the most common third party funeral expenses include:

Floral arrangements – Traditional funerals feature numerous floral arrangements that are used during the memorial service and placed at the gravesite.

Casket – A traditional funeral with burial will require a casket. At an average cost of over $2,000, the casket is typically the single most expensive item. If you plan to do a cremation, you may need to rent a casket for the funeral services.

Obituary – If your family plans to put an obituary notice in the newspaper there will be a fee.

Officiating Clergy – Whoever presides over the funeral service will typically ask that a donation be made.

All funeral homes are required to provide an itemized expense statement that includes good faith estimates of third party fees. When you begin budgeting for funeral expenses use the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Costs and Pricing Checklist. It’s a great resource with information on average prices.

The Funeral Rule

As with many things in life, there are laws governing funerals. The FTC Funeral Rule provides guidelines that protect consumers and make funeral expenses more transparent.

The Funeral Rule was put into place to ensure that consumers are protected when they’re most vulnerable. The primary goal is to allow consumers to select the funeral services they want without overpaying for additional fees. As noted above, the Rule requires funeral homes provide itemized statements that make the expenses known. This helps you compare prices and decide which services you can do without.

Another regulation is that all service fees charged by funeral coordinators for third party services must be disclosed in writing. If the funeral director received discounts, rebates or refunds that must be disclosed too.

Keep in mind the Funeral Rule only applies to funeral homes. Cemeteries without an onsite funeral home and third party vendors do not have to adhere to the regulations.

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November 2, 2017, 8:34 am

Six Hacks to Save You More Money

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

Our lives are made up of tiny decisions that can have a big impact over time.

This concept applies to our financial lives as well. A $3 mocha may not seem like much in the moment but over the course of a year, when purchased consistently, you’ll spend over $700!

The power of time has an even bigger impact with compound interest. If you place just a few dollars every day into a retirement account, your savings will grow exponentially.

PSECU, a credit union in Pennsylvania, explores which of life’s daily expenses could be replaced with cheaper alternatives along with other ways to save money.


Think of everyday habits or purchases you make that could be cut or exchanged for something that costs less.

There are also other money-saving hacks like keeping your car tires inflated and hanging your clothes out to dry that may not seem like it saves you money till months down the road.

Lastly, make sure you are taking advantage of everyday spending by using a cash back credit card. Look for a card that doesn’t have an annual fee and make sure you pay it back in full each month so you don’t pay any interest.

Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with PSECU.



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September 25, 2017, 9:36 am

The Four Worst Financial Millennial Mistakes

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

Millennials differ in many ways from any other generation in recorded history. One critical way that they operate differently is in how they make financial decisions. As the first generation not to have classes like handling personal finances built into their education, and having all but doing away with paper money, Millennials are changing the way that Americans spend, save, and invest their money.

There are things that you can do to secure your financial future and others that can drive a nail through it. The problem for the Millennial crowd is that not all of them really understand the difference, and according to a credit union in Winnipeg, they are making critical financial mistakes that could potentially affect their resources for the future. The good news is that Millennials are just starting out in the financial world, and even if they make these four major financial mistakes, there is plenty of time to correct and turn them around.

They don’t take full advantage of what’s offered

It is a hard reality, but Millennials might not have the assurance of  social security in their later years. In fact, many might lose their safety net if things don’t turn around. That means that for a Millennial, things like 401(k)s and retirement funds are more critical than ever before. Once considered an option just to have some extra money, it is important for the Millennial generation to understand that they will likely be paying for their retirement themselves, no matter how much they are paying into the system now.

Many who are just entering the workforce are not taking advantage of retirement options. In fact, statistics show that only about 30% of young workers sign up for retirement savings options. The participation is so low that many companies are automatically signing their employees up, with 84% of twenty-somethings being enrolled automatically.  If you have the option, it is always a good idea to maximize pension or retirement savings accounts to secure your future.

Making earning the goal

Millennials have a new mindset when it comes to their occupation. Many have their eyes on the prize, but the prize isn’t to find something you love and do it for a lifetime. Many employees are going into industries purely because they will make a lot of money. What an older perspective knows is that industries come and go. If you want to be financially secure for a lifetime, you have to find something you love to do and stick with it.

When you choose something because of money, you have a tendency to jump around a lot, trying to find fulfillment. That means that you don’t ever really achieve success, either through your career path or your need for emotional fulfillment. If you want to ensure that you are set for your financial future, find what you love and create a life around it, instead of thinking you will work super hard for a couple of years for a big paycheck and then retire.

Not investing or saving early or enough

Those entering the workforce are having a hard enough time paying off their huge student loan debts, so the thought of putting money away seems almost laughable. That is leaving them without a safety net, spending outside their means, and landing them in a slew of trouble when they need money.

If you aren’t putting any money away for even a rainy day, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Just $20 a month is enough at least to start your savings. Incremental savings is what it is all about. It is never too early or too little to put some money away in your piggy bank for when you need it most.

When you do have a little amount, it is also a good idea to invest it. Not only will that make your money grow, but if you lock it up tight in an investment, then you’ve removed the temptation to spend it. Small investments are an excellent way to grow wealth.

Thinking about the quick buck

Millennials are always looking for the big payoff instead of earning a dollar’s wage. The internet and social media have taken the reality away from many young workers entering the workforce. Instead of working hard to achieve their goals and building a career, many bounce around looking for the new fad or get-rich-quick scheme. Again, it is much smarter to remember that slow and steady wins the race, instead of being the hare who falls asleep.

If you are a Millennial, the good news is that you have plenty of time to make the right financial decisions to grow wealth and to protect yourself for the future. If you correct these four mistakes, your outlook will be looking up.

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July 17, 2017, 8:21 am

5 Things You Can Do to Cut Your Monthly Expenses

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

Cutting your monthly expenses is never an easy task but if you’re on a tight budget already, it’s something that needs to be strongly considered. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing as a career or how many children you have, by following the below tips, you’ll be able to save hundreds every year on expenses.

1.      Only Buy Food from a Farmers’ Market

A farmers’ market is usually open throughout the week regardless of where you live. Consider going there a couple of times a week at least just so you can take advantage of the great deals on vegetables. Getting deals on food will save you a lot of money and it also means you’re not going to have to spend a fortune on takeaways every month because you don’t have any food in the cupboard!

2.      Cut Your Cell Phone & Internet Bills

Call your cell phone and internet provider to see if you can come to some arrangement when it comes to using fewer resources. The fewer resources you use generally means a much cheaper bill. Many people have cell phones but rarely use all the resources they have, so be sure you check with your provider to see if you can save money on your bills.

3.      Cycle to Work or University

Cycling to work or university can save you hundreds every month in fuel and insurance costs. You’ll also find saving money on public transport will also save you plenty. It’s not viable for everyone, but even if you need to cycle for a couple of miles every day, surely that’s worth saving thousands every year on expensive vehicle costs. You could also sell your vehicle if you own one and found that cycling was viable for you.

4.      Reduce Consumable Habits

This step is easier said than done, but it’s one worth considering if you’re really struggling to make ends meet. If you have a regular smoking or drinking habit, try to cut down by half or even try to quit if you have the willpower to do so. People spend thousands every year on smoking and drinking and that’s thousands you could save every year, giving you much more breathing space when it comes to monthly bills.

5.      Cook Your Owns Meals

If you’re a student studying at Maryville University for an online masters in health administration or Online MHA degree, it’s very easy to come home after a long hard day and order a takeaway. This is a very expensive option and students often spend thousands every year on takeaways alone. Consider cooking your own meals every day, or if that isn’t an option, set aside a few hours every week where you can cook numerous meals to be frozen.

The above are just a few tips to help you save money whether you’re in full-time employment or you’re a full-time student. The above tips will give you much more breathing space every month so you can still enjoy life even on a tighter budget.

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July 6, 2017, 9:53 am

Patch The Holes In Your Budget With A Small Dollar Loan

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

A budget works well up until a point, but even the best financial plan has its limits. Unexpected purchases, bills, and repairs test these boundaries. Depending on how much savings you have set aside, they can be enough to bust your budget wide-open. In a perfect world, you’d have the same net worth as Chris Pratt after Guardians of the Galaxy 2, or at the very least, you could put life on hold until you can build up enough savings to cover your modest responsibilities. Unfortunately, you live in a reality where neither is true. Nevertheless, you have to make your payments on time if you expect to avoid late penalties and added interest.

While you can speak with your mechanic or call your utility provider to talk about a possible deferred payment plan, eventually you’ll have to pay off these debts — with or without savings. When your budget is still reeling from these unexpected repairs, talk to a small dollar lender for help. The country’s top direct lenders can provide essential financial assistance during your darkest times.

But why choose a direct lender over conventional lenders like the bank? There’s a time and place for every financial solution, so there are circumstances when you should contact a bank over any other lender. It’s perfectly normal to speak with a financial advisor when you hope to refinance debt or get a mortgage. The help a direct lender can offer is better suited for when you only need a little help to cover your newfound responsibilities and when you need that help incredibly quickly.

Traditional lenders have long and involved processes that limit who they approve, and these methods to review your application can take more time than you have available. Direct lenders such as MoneyKey understand that time is of the essence when you’re facing multiple bills with approaching due dates. That’s why financiers like MoneyKey have streamlined their practices and processes in order to deliver the fastest acting loans as possible.

Though they have internal ways to review applications, they don’t rely on in-person interviews or a lengthy analysis of your entire financial history. With just a simple online application form, which can be found at, and a quick phone call to verify your info, a short term lender can review your status and deem you worthy of their assistance. Once approved, you can receive up to $1,000 in your bank account in as little as one business day.

When your budget fails and you have no way of paying for unexpected bills, repairs, or medical emergencies on your own, a payday loan is a great way to cover these expenses. From their size to their speedy application process, these products were designed specifically for these kinds of small, non-recurring purchases.

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