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October 23, 2008


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It's also possible to shop around for a better deal on burial space, although as mentioned above, it's the sort of thing you want to do as a pre-planning arrangement. Shopping after the death of a loved one puts you at your most vulnerable, and there are cemetery operators who may take advantage of that.

For cemetery plots: You will probably get a better deal if you check out your local municipal cemetery rather than going to a corporate-owned garden-style cemetery. The non-corporate cemeteries don't spend money on advertising or upselling, so they tend to be less expensive.

If you're interested in a mausoleum/cremation niche, I've heard from people in the industry that spots near a water feature, double spaces, and interior glassed-in display spaces have the highest demand. If you're willing to take a lower-demand spot, you may get a much more attractive price.

Also: I have heard that it may be possible to negotiate prices. Worth a shot, at least.

If anyone's interested in getting more information about the death industry, I highly recommend Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death. It originally came out in the 60s, but there's an updated edition -- and not much has changed from the 1960s anyway. It's a little scary.

My parents are members of, and I plan on joining, a cremation society. For a one time membership fee, they handle most of the details of a simple cremation, including picking up the body, the cremation, and the return in a simple container. Some, I believe, also include a basic memorial service.

The membership is for a lifetime and is transferable if you move out of the area (different areas have different societies but my understanding is they honor each other's obligations). This would not work for someone who wants an elaborate service or someone who doesn't want to be cremated, but other than that I believe it's one of the best deals out there. My local society is Cremation Society of the South (

Years past, I took time to build my own casket.
every year or so I add carved panels of events to the outsides. Yes I may run out of room, however as it is being used as a bookcase, the old panels are used as book dividers.
The casket is a running point of interest and savings at our house.
As for cremation, my wife has some nice roses that will need fertalizers later.

Great idea, Owen Meany!

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