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How to Avoid Emotional Overspending for Funeral Services

When a loved one dies, you may feel compelled to make a grand gesture, to show how much you loved them. This can lead to spending a lot of money on their Jewish funeral, depleting savings or even falling into debt. Elements like casket selection, flowers, or obituaries can all add up. As a result, it leads to a bill far beyond what your loved one would want you to pay. So, what exactly is emotional overspending, and how can you recognize and avoid it?


What is Emotional Overspending?

Emotional overspending is selecting services or merchandise due to the “need to have it” versus a necessary purchase. Your emotions may compel you to buy an ornate casket in the perfect style to compliment your mother’s outfit. Or, you may want to pay $1,000 in flowers, consolation gifts or even on an obituary (it happens). After suffering a terrible loss, it’s natural to want to prove that money is no object when saying goodbye.

Does this sound familiar? Many people experience this when planning for a wedding. You can be paying off a wedding dress for years, and it’s the same principle with a casket. Cars and vacations are another expense where emotional overspending is common. If you recognize some of these areas in your own life, it’s especially important to plan ahead. This will help you avoid overspending in moments of grief.

Woman and child standing by grave in mourning

Some Ways to Combat Overspending

There are several ways to combat emotion overspending, both for yourself, and for your family. The simplest thing to do is to plan ahead. We know that death is inevitable. So, begin by looking into life insurance or a pre-paid funeral contract. Either of these options will provide funds to take care of your funeral services. This means that your family will have the means to pay for it. It’s also important to discuss your wishes. Do you want to have a horse-drawn carriage carry your casket through the cemetery? Or maybe you want to ensure that a reception can be held afterwards at your favorite restaurant?

jewish headstone with raised base

By simply writing down your wishes, and discussing them, you can give your family peace of mind that they don’t need to spend an outrageous amount on you. This can ultimately help them through their grief. Spending time together and sharing love now will also reassure them that you know they love you, and when the time comes they may not feel that same sense of need to overspend. If you are the one making the funeral arrangements after a death has occurred, there are also ways to avoid emotional overspending in that moment.


Did you know?

In the same way you can pre-plan your funeral services, you can pre-plan your monument. Families may feel compelled to have a cemetery monument or headstone that is ornate and outside of the family budget. With so many etchings, lettering, epitaphs, and more to choose from, the cost can add up. A simple way to avoid this is to pre-plan your cemetery monument.


When Making Arrangements

You may feel overwhelmed in the moment of planning the funeral arrangements. Lots of different options are being thrown at you, and you will be under a tremendous amount of stress while being asked to make dozens of decisions. It is easy to get overwhelmed, or hyper-focused on a big ticket item. Remember that expensive casket? Six months after the funeral you won’t even remember what it looks like, but you’ll still be paying it off on your credit card.

  • Have a budget in mind going into the funeral arrangements. There will be some unavoidable costs, like the cremation fee, or the use of the hearse, but an overall sense of what you really have available to spend will help you in making your decisions.
  • Have a family member or close friend come to the arrangements to hold you accountable. You’ll be surprised how much this strength and support can help you stay on track.
  • Look to your family and friends for talents to use to personalize the service.  A poet who can write a special verse to read, or a musician who can sing or play an instrument can add value to the service. There are lots of creative, yet inexpensive ways to personalize a funeral service. This also serves to demonstrates your love for the deceased without stressing your budget.
jewish funeral

Remember, it is the experience itself that everyone will remember, but only you will be footing the bill.



At Fox Memorials, we’ve been guiding Long Island’s Jewish community through losses and grief for decades. By providing high-quality custom headstones and monuments, we help our clients say goodbye at fair and affordable rates. Jewish monuments are the most personal, enduring tributes to the lives and legacies of your lost loved one.