Finding the perfect urn can feel like a very emotional decision. Like choosing a casket, or other burial arrangements, it is usually best to do so ahead of time.
After your loved one has passed away, you’re scrambling to put details together at the last minute. Dealing with grief and loss, you may make decisions that your wallet can’t support. You may often find yourself in the position of coordinating funeral details at the very last minute.
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If your budget is stretched thin already, what can you do? There’s no need to sink yourself into debt. With a little forethought, and the ability to easily compare options, you can make a decision that works for your pocketbook.
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Prices by Type of Urn
The most important decision you’ll make starts before you shop. What do you want to do with this urn for ashes? Some people like the idea of keeping their loved ones close. They can do this by keeping a beautifully crafted urn on their mantelpiece. With the right touch, urns can become a beautiful part of your home decor.
Others know their loved one would want their ashes buried. This requires a utilitarian, sturdy urn. Some prioritize the environment around them when they make their decisions. As such, a biodegradable urn is the container for them.
There’s yet another point to consider. What if this urn is only a temporary container? Some people want their ashes scattered at sea or in some special spot. If this urn will only hold their ashes for a few hours or days, there’s no need to invest in something that will last for generations.
- Rosewood urn: These urns don’t look like your typical option. A rosewood urn often looks like a little chest, one that you would put jewelry or special mementos in. This is perfect to display on your dresser or another decorative piece of furniture. The benefit of a rosewood urn is that it won’t break. That’s one less thing to worry about if you have children or pets. Due to its utilitarian, yet lovely nature, these urns cost around $100.
- Engraved urn: These urns cost around $150 on Amazon. That’s the cheapest price point for a customized, engraved urn. Specialty shops, either locally or online, often charge much more. This allows them to do more detailed work, of course.
- Personalized urn: Engraved urns usually include basic details. Name and dates are common choices. Personalized urns open a much wider range of options. Since there’s no limit on how much personalization you can include, these urns can range from $50 to several hundred dollars. Whether you’d like an urn shaped like a motorcycle or a photo embedded in it, there are options available.
- Granite urn: These heavyweights cost between $90-$160. Depending on where you order it from, you might pay extra for shipping.
- Artisan urn: These are often the most expensive urns you can buy. The amount of time it takes for a craftsman to make something can’t be underestimated. Depending on what you want, expect to pay hundreds or even thousands for this urn. Foreverence is one example of a company that creates custom, artisan urns to order, in any shape you can imagine.
- Biodegradable urn: These urns are made out of many different types of material. From paper to wood, it’s a big range. The price changes, too. Some biodegradable urns cost around forty dollars, while others top out at $150.
Typical Shipping Prices for Urns
Depending on the size you need, urns are a bulky item to ship. And the material type changes the amount of padding needed. Size also plays a role. For instance, you can order a rosewood box for your urn. Since it’s square and wooden, it won’t require much padding. But a traditionally shaped urn for a three-hundred-pound adult, made out of glass, is more difficult to ship.
If you fall in love with an urn from a generic retailer, you’re in luck. If you’re in a rush and need to save money, this is a great option. Other online retailers may not be so generous. Some offer free ground shipping if your order is over $50. Ground shipping will deliver your order in 3-5 business days. If you need expedited shipping, many urn retailers will charge $20 for two-day shipping.
How to Find an Affordable Urn
First, pick the materials based on your situation. How will you be displaying it? If this urn is going to be placed on your mantel, then you can pick virtually anything. Glass, wood, or ceramic urns will all work. You might be planning to bury the urn outside, in which case something more durable and less susceptible to shattering is better. In this case, stone or marble urns are a great choice.
Once you’ve chosen your materials, consider the cost. An urn made of gold, brass, or marble might last a long time, even when buried underground. All of those options are quite expensive. If your budget is unlimited, that might not be an issue. But if you’re trying to find an inexpensive urn for your loved one’s ashes, think of other materials. You may be drawn to colorful, gorgeous urns that are works of art in their own right. This effect can be achieved with semiprecious stones and other details.
An urn with those details is sure to strain your wallet, unfortunately. If you’re set on that look, what can you do? There are always other options, you can look into colorful glass urns.
Consider generic options, too. Going to a local store that sells handcrafted urns might be a beautiful experience. But it’s likely to be an expensive one. Sites like Amazon or Walmart sell urns for thirty or forty dollars.
While the price changes based on size—meaning an infant urn is much cheaper than an adult one—they’re still quite inexpensive. An urn might be one of the cheapest parts of your funeral planning!
Don’t try to cut corners when it comes to size. Experts recommend you calculate one inch of cubic space for every pound of body weight, prior to cremation. If you’re not sure what they weighed before they passed away, lean toward the larger option. A little headspace isn’t an issue. But not having enough space to accommodate your loved one’s ashes may be heartbreaking.
What if you want a customized urn? Some people love the idea of an urn specially made for their loved ones. That way, the container that houses their final remains pays homage to them as a person.
For instance, some urns for ashes are crafted to reflect patriotism. Whether they’re colored like a flag, or have a symbol from the Marine Corps on the front, these urns pay homage to someone’s service in the Armed Forces. Getting something custom-made might be spendy, so what can you do? Hanging cremation jewelry around the urn is one option. This jewelry can be customized and adds a personal touch to the urn itself.
Buying the Right (and Reasonably Priced) Urn
In the heat of the moment, some people make the mistake of associating a cost with love. The price of an urn doesn’t demonstrate how much you loved them. Buy what you can afford! The thought you put into selecting it is what really matters.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, you have more than just the type of urn to think about. Handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.