Have you ever thought about the expenses incurred for funerals, and whether they accurately reflected your values? We’re so averse to seeming disrespectful, or thinking that money shouldn’t matter at a time like this, or just plain wanting someone else to make the decisions, that we don’t even know what we’re buying or why,

An example of this is the container used for cremation. Let’s call it a BOX, ’cause that’s all it is. You may want a beautiful box even though you’re getting cremated, and there’s plenty of beautiful and expensive boxes to choose from.

But what if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on this box that’s soon going up in flames? In that case, you might be happier with an alternative container, which is funeral-industry speak for plain, inexpensive box. Even among alternative containers, prices vary, but they are all still much, much less expensive than a traditional casket. (Under $100 vs. $2–10,000 price range.) They can be made of unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard, or cardboard. Here’s the results of a search in Google Images:

Alternative containers

And the FTC Funeral Rule states that any funeral home that offers cremation must tell you that alternative containers are available, and must make them available for purchase.

This option won’t appeal to everyone, but for those on a budget, of modest taste, of supreme practicality, or environmental consciousness (or any combination thereof), it might be the perfect place to not mindlessly purchase something not in keeping with your values.