Cremations 101: What Is the Least Expensive Way to Be Cremated?

Couple with mortuary urn and flowers at funeral


Cremation is an American sensation. More than half of the people who died in 2020 chose cremation instead of burial. 

One reason why is that cremations cost less than burials. Prices continue to rise, but cremations remain relatively cheap. But the cost of cremation depends on several factors. 

How does the type of cremation impact the price? How do prices change from location to location? How can family members sprinkle remains without spending too much money? 

Answer these questions and you can find the best and most affordable way to memorialize a loved one. Here is your quick guide. 

Cremation Types

Cremation involves using hot gases or flames to burn a person’s body down to fine ashes. Most cremations involve burning natural gases or coal. Burning these materials is cheap, yet they can contribute to climate change. 

There are other ways of reducing a person’s remains. Alkaline hydrolysis involves using water and liquid chemicals to break a body down over heat. 

The process leaves more remains behind than direct cremation. But it can be expensive, if only because it is not a common practice. 

A body can be burned on a pyre. Someone places the body on a stack of wood and flammable materials and then lights the materials on fire. But it can cost money to find the materials and burn the remains down to ash. 


Some states have higher rates for cremation than others. The cremation cost in Texas can run as low as $795. But paying for additional services can run as high as $1,595. 

One reason why prices can run so high is that demand for cremation fluctuates. When demand is high, cremation providers bring their prices down to attract more customers. More populated areas tend to have higher demand, so less populated states have higher prices. 

Deposition of Remains 

Cremation costs do not end once the cremation is complete. A person may have to pay hundreds of dollars for an urn or container for remains. Some people offer free cremations, but they impose limitations on deposition. 

Someone may donate their body to science. Doctors may examine their body to study more about diseases and the aging process. 

Once the study is complete, their remains are given back to family members. It may take some time for the family to dispose of the remains. But they receive a no-cost cremation in exchange for the donation. 

Donating organs may provide a low-cost cremation. Doctors will salvage as many organs and body parts as possible. Anything that they cannot use will become cremated. 

Cremations and Their Expenses 

Cremations do not have to break the bank. The traditional means of cremation can cost a few thousand dollars. Yet more environmentally friendly ways can cost even more. 

Some states offer more expensive packages than others due to differences in demand. Demand may fluctuate suddenly, preventing a clear understanding of price ranges. 

Donating one’s body or organs can lead to a no-cost cremation. But it may take time for remains to return to family members. 

Cremation is just one way to dispose of remains. Figure out other ways by following our coverage.