Santa Cruz Forest

The cost of a traditional burial vs. ashes in a memorial forest

Learn about Better Place Forests sustainable Memorial Forest and find your perfect tree


As we ponder our last journey, do we count pennies or moments?” This introspective question becomes all the more poignant when faced with the choice between burial and cremation. Both paths offer their own set of traditions, emotions, and costs. But beyond personal preferences, there lies the weight of the decision’s impact on our families.

The age-old practice of burial carries with it a sense of permanence, a tangible place for loved ones to visit and remember. Yet, it often comes with significant financial implications. Cremation, while potentially more economical, introduces its own set of considerations, from choosing a final resting place for the ashes to the emotional resonance it holds for the family.

The dilemma is not just personal but familial. The choices we make can either ease the emotional and financial burdens for our loved ones or inadvertently amplify them. This blog delves into the heart of this decision, offering insights to help you navigate this profound crossroad with clarity and compassion for those you hold dear.

What do traditional burial costs pay for?

When we think of a traditional burial, images of solemn ceremonies, ornate caskets, and timeless headstones often come to mind. But behind these enduring symbols lies a detailed breakdown of costs that many might not be aware of until faced with the task of planning a funeral. With this in mind, let’s delve into the anatomy of burial costs:

  • Casket: Starting at $2,300, the price varies based on materials and design.

  • Embalming: A preservation process priced between $500-$800.

  • Burial Liner or Vault: Essential for many cemeteries, these start at $1,000.

  • Cemetery Plot: Depending on location and type, plots range from $1,000 to $5,000 and beyond.

  • Headstone or Marker: A lasting tribute, these begin at $1,500.

  • Funeral Service: Comprehensive services can start at $7,000 and increase based on customization.

Collectively, these elements can culminate in an expense upwards of $15,000. Without prior planning, this financial responsibility often falls upon grieving loved ones, adding monetary strain to an already emotionally taxing time.

As society evolves, so do our perceptions of final resting places. The rising interest in eco-friendly and meaningful alternatives is reshaping funeral traditions. Cremation, followed by the scattering of ashes beneath a memorial tree, is emerging as a popular choice. Not only does it offer a poignant connection to nature, but it also presents a more cost-effective solution.

The cost of cremation and a memorial forest

According to the Cremation Institute, the average cost of cremation hovers between $3,000 to $4,000, a figure significantly lower than traditional burial expenses. This choice isn’t just about the financial aspect; it’s about the flexibility it offers. 

Once cremated, the ashes aren’t just limited to an urn on a mantle. They can be transformed into cherished jewelry or, even more poignantly, spread beneath a memorial tree, creating a living tribute that future generations can visit and connect with.

The idea of a memorial forest resonates deeply with many. It’s not just about finding a resting place; it’s about merging with nature and becoming a part of a larger, ever-growing tapestry of life. These forests are more than just spaces of remembrance; they’re a commitment to conservation. Every tree planted is a step towards a healthier planet, a legacy that benefits not just the departed but the world at large.

Choosing a memorial forest is a significant decision, one that intertwines personal sentiments with the broader well-being of our environment. It’s a commitment to legacy, and for those considering this path, understanding the financial and emotional intricacies is crucial.

How much do I save by choosing a memorial tree with Better Place Forests?

In the quiet moments of reflection, many of us ponder the legacy we’ll leave behind. At Better Place Forests, we understand the profound nature of this decision and offer a harmonious blend of personal sentiment, environmental impact, and financial consideration.

Our approach is tailored, ensuring that each memorial package aligns with your unique vision and end-of-life wishes. Remarkably, many of our packages come in at less than half the cost of a traditional burial, offering both economic and ecological benefits.

When you’re ready to embark on this journey, our dedicated memorial advisors are here to guide you. They’ll help you navigate choices like location, tree size, type, and the intricacies of the memorial ceremony. To begin, consider scheduling a free online forest tour.

What kind of packages does Better Place Forests offer?

We offer four distinct packages (these prices may vary by forest), each designed to resonate with different needs and preferences. Notably, every package includes the planting of Impact Trees, our commitment to reforesting areas affected by deforestation or wildfires. In collaboration with One Tree Planted, these trees further amplify your positive environmental legacy.

  • Heritage Tree Package: Priced at $5,900, this package offers a memorial tree up to 12″ in diameter, one memorial ceremony, and the planting of 50 Impact Trees. This choice results in a savings of roughly $9,100 per person compared to traditional burials.

  • Legacy Tree Package: At $8,900, this package features a tree up to 30″ in diameter, two memorial ceremonies, and the planting of 200 Impact Trees. The savings? Approximately $10,550 per person when compared to traditional burial costs.

  • Monument Tree Package: Our most sought-after package at $13,400 includes a tree up to 40″ in diameter with breathtaking mountain views, two memorial ceremonies, and the planting of 400 Impact Trees. This choice offers a savings of about $8,300 per person.

  • Landmark Tree Package: Ideal for families, priced at $9,150 less per person than a traditional burial. It encompasses rights for four memorial ceremonies, a tree up to 70″ in diameter, and the planting of 1,600 Impact Trees.

What’s Included In Your Memorial Package?

  • Comprehensive Memorial Plan: We shoulder the planning, ensuring your loved ones aren’t burdened with organizing a memorial service after your passing.

  • Memorial Tree: Your ashes find solace at the base of a private tree in one of our serene memorial forests.

  • Memorial Ceremony Right: Our forest stewards assist in blending your ashes with the soil at your tree’s base, symbolizing the beautiful continuity of life.

  • Impact Trees: Your choice promotes nationwide reforestation efforts, leaving a lasting green legacy.

  • Peaceful Memorial Space: A tranquil forest setting where loved ones can reflect, remember, and reconnect with nature.

  • Forest Land Protection: Our unwavering commitment ensures the conservation and protection of forest lands for generations to come.

The memorial marker and size of memorial (defined by number of guests) are an additional cost at the time of the service.

In choosing Better Place Forests, you’re not just deciding for yourself but for the planet and future generations. It’s a choice that intertwines personal legacy with environmental stewardship.

Does Better Place Forests Have A Refund Policy?

Making end-of-life decisions is deeply personal, and at Better Place Forests, we recognize the importance of feeling secure and confident in your choices. That’s why our ‘Peace of Mind Guarantee’ backs every purchase you make with us. This isn’t just a policy; it’s our commitment to ensuring your complete satisfaction. 

If, within 120 days of your purchase, you feel a change of heart, we offer a full refund. For those contemplating the cost of cremation vs traditional burial, our guarantee provides clarity, ensuring you’ve made a decision that aligns with both your values and budget.

Who Will Take Care Of My Memorial Tree?  

The longevity and health of your memorial tree are paramount to us. Our team of dedicated arborists and forest stewards are on hand to ensure your tree thrives, receiving the care and attention it deserves.

But nature, in all its beauty, can sometimes be unpredictable. 

Should your tree face any challenges or, in rare instances, not survive, rest assured, we’ve got you covered. We’ll offer you the choice of selecting a new tree or replanting another nearby. When considering the interment of ashes cost, it’s comforting to know that your legacy remains undisturbed with us, without any hidden fees or surprises.

Parting Thoughts

Traditional burials, with their deep-rooted customs, have long been the norm. However, the evolving societal consciousness is guiding many toward more sustainable, meaningful, and cost-effective alternatives. Cremation, paired with the serenity of a memorial forest, offers not just an economical solution but a profound connection to nature.

Better Place Forests stands at the forefront of this shift, offering a harmonious blend of personal sentiment, environmental stewardship, and financial prudence. Our commitment goes beyond just providing a resting place; it’s about ensuring that every individual’s legacy contributes positively to the world, benefiting both the environment and future generations.

As you reflect on the journey ahead, consider the lasting impact of your choices. By opting for a memorial forest, you’re not only ensuring peace for yourself but also gifting a greener, more sustainable legacy to the world. At Better Place Forests, we’re here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring your final resting place is as unique and meaningful as the life you’ve lived.


What Is The Cheapest Way To Bury Or Cremate?

Cremation is often more cost-effective than traditional burial. When weighing the cost of cremation vs traditional burial, cremation frequently stands out due to its simplicity and reduced associated costs. Opting for memorial forests or scattering ashes in meaningful places can further reduce expenses while providing a serene and lasting tribute.

What Is The Lowest Price To Be Cremated?

The cost of cremation varies based on location and service specifics. On average, prices range between $3,000 to $4,000. However, some providers offer basic cremation services at lower rates. It’s essential to research and compare local options to find the most affordable and suitable choice for your needs.

Where Is The Cheapest Place To Have A Funeral?

Funeral expenses can differ significantly based on location, services, and providers. While urban areas might have higher costs, rural regions can offer more affordable rates. It’s beneficial to explore non-traditional options, such as memorial forests, which can provide a unique and heartfelt experience at a fraction of the traditional interment of ashes cost.

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