How to Find Cheap Urns for Human or Pet Ashes: 10 Tips

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Shopping for an urn for a loved one is understandably challenging. Not only is this something most people don’t do very frequently, but it can also be a complicated process. There are more options than ever for finding the right urn, so where do you begin?

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The process of finding the right cremation urn is even more complicated if you’re on a budget. The good news is there are many low-cost or even free urn options available, but you’ll need to seek these out yourself. 

In this guide, we’ll explore how to find cheap urns for human or pet ashes. Every individual (and beloved pet) deserves an urn that honors his or her legacy. This doesn’t need to come at a premium. 

Tip: If you're looking for something very unique (think a game, a classic car, or instrument of choice), you can custom order an urn from a store like Foreverence. You submit a design idea or sketch, then the company designs and 3D prints your urn, so you get a 100% unique container.

How Much Does an Urn Cost?

One of the first questions many people have when they’re shopping for ashes is how much does an urn cost? The answer isn’t so black-and-white. In reality, it depends. 

There are a lot of different factors that go into determining the price of an urn. These factors are:

  • Material
  • Size
  • Style
  • Design elements
  • Weight

It also depends on where you shop for the urn. Your local funeral home or crematorium likely has the most expensive urns, but these are also the most convenient. In general, most traditional urns cost between $50-$300+ depending on the factors above. 

The good news is there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to urns. Unlike burials, you can always opt for alternatives like scattering the ashes, dividing them amongst family members, and so on. There are a lot of low-cost or even free urns available. 

Tips for Finding a Cheap Urn for Human Ashes

A bit of know-how and shopping savvy is the best way to find a cheap urn for human ashes. A quick browse online or at your funeral home will inform you just how many urns are out there, so this isn’t a simple search by any means. 

1. Shop online

It should come as no surprise in the digital age that you can save a lot of money on urns if you’re willing to shop for an urn online. While many people mistakenly believe you can only buy urns at your funeral home or crematorium, you’re free to shop on your own. 

There are a number of urn providers online. From big-name box stores and online retail giants to smaller sellers, you can find anything you’re looking for online. A quick search for “inexpensive urns” yields endless results.

Read our guide on where to buy an urn online for more.

2. Choose an alternative urn type

There are a few different types of urns to be aware of, and they’re each a good fit for different situations. The most common urn types are:

  • Standard urns: These are for the standard adult human. These are the most expensive. 
  • Keepsake urns: A keepsake urn is a smaller version of a traditional urn that only holds a portion of the remains, ideal if you’re planning on distributing ashes somewhere or amongst family. 
  • Companion urns: As the name implies, a companion urn has enough space for two people. This could be a less expensive alternative than buying two individual urns. 
  • Child or infant urn: Lastly, if you’re securing the ashes of a child or infant, there are specific, smaller urns that are less costly and more suitable for this size. 

You might not need a standard urn after all, so this can turn into money saved, as one of the biggest factors when determining the price of the urn is size. Make sure you’re not paying for more than you need. 

3. Find a free urn online

Did you know there are free urns? Many well-known urn suppliers believe that everyone deserves an urn to honor their life and legacy, and they’re willing to donate urns to those in need. 

While this should only be used if you’re unable to afford an urn for your loved one, it’s an excellent resource. These urns are typically damaged, though you probably won’t notice any difference on the surface. Once dented or scratched, they’re not “perfect” enough for a regular sale. These make the perfect option for someone in need of a free urn. 

You can ask your funeral home, crematorium, or online retailer if they have any damaged urns available for free or low-cost. If you find one online, you’ll typically only need to pay the shipping cost. 

4. Choose an inexpensive material

Another great way to keep the cost low is to choose an inexpensive material for the urn. Some materials are more expensive than others. The most expensive materials are typically ceramic and metal

Instead, choose something made of wood or other natural material. There are no “rules” to what does and doesn’t count as an urn material, so feel free to get creative. Glass, wood, and even cardboard function just the same as metal urns though they require a bit more care. 

5. Scatter or distribute the ashes

If you’re hoping to use a small urn to save on urn costs, you might choose to scatter or distribute the ashes. Having a ceremony to scatter the ashes somewhere important to your loved one can be a powerful form of remembrance. This is something that brings much peace after a loss. 

Another common practice is distributing the ashes amongst family and friends. If multiple family members would like to keep their loved one’s ashes, this allows everyone to get a smaller keepsake urn. 

6. Make your own urn

Last but not least, consider making your own urn. As mentioned above, there are no rules about what can and can’t be an urn. If it secures someone’s ashes, it’s an urn. 

Many people find peace in creating a custom urn for their loved ones. You can create something from scratch or use an item that brought them joy in life.

Some popular DIY options that are easy to create are:

  • Glass jars or containers
  • Wooden boxes
  • Wine or beer bottles
  • Flower planters
  • Photo frames
  • Vases

There are a number of DIY urn projects available online, and it’s an easy way to make something meaningful and timeless. Just ensure your DIY urn keeps the ashes secure and safe. 

Tips for Finding a Cheap Urn for Pet Ashes

There are also a lot of easy ways to find a cheap urn for pet ashes. Your pet is a member of the family too, so it’s no surprise you want to keep their ashes close as well. 

7. Search pet stores

Did you know many popular pet stores carry cremation ashes specifically for pets?

These can be a lot cheaper than purchasing through a vet or funeral home. Pet stores have small, customizable pet urns typically between $10 - $50. 

8. Look for homemade options

There are also a number of homemade pet urns that are very affordable. The creator’s marketplace Etsy is a great place to start, but you can also find urns at local craft fairs, crafting groups, and specialty shops. 

9. Bury the ashes

If you’re looking for an alternative to a traditional pet urn, you might wish to bury the ashes. You can do this with a biodegradable urn. Since these are made with natural materials, they’re typically inexpensive. 

The plus side of this option is that you can also plant flowers or a tree with your pet’s ashes. There’s no tribute that’s more beautiful than creating new life. For a pet that loved the outdoors, this is a great way to honor them. 

10. Reuse or repurpose

Lastly, you can always reuse or repurpose some of your pet’s things. Again, there are no guidelines for what “counts” as an urn.

You can use your pet’s treat jar, food bowl (with lid), or even a favorite toy to hold your pet’s ashes. Just make sure they’re secure to avoid accidents. 

Find the Right Urn at Any Price

No matter your budget, there’s an urn out there that’s right for your needs. If you’re planning an affordable funeral, choosing a low-cost or free cremation urn can help you save. It’s easier than ever to find an urn that fits your needs and budget with the tips above. 

Everyone deserves an urn that honors their life, legacy, and memory. This doesn’t have to come at a huge price tag or any price tag at all. A DIY urn is just as meaningful as one that costs hundreds. Like remembrance itself, it’s all about what it means to you. 

Another beautiful option for keeping a loved one's memory alive is a memorial diamond created from ashes. Some companies, like Eterneva, create lab-grown diamonds and allow you to pick from several cuts and colors for your gemstone.

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