April 22, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II - Day 11 - April 22nd

Today’s discussion is short as the information that Amy gave on saving money on funerals may be a little outdated and also the laws on funeral and burials varies from state to state. But since people die every day, you have to be prepared financially for paying for a funeral. Sooner or later it will happen.

Well, that’s a wonderful morbid discussion for Good Friday so let’s start off instead with food coloring.


Amy uses paste food coloring for frosting or cookie dough. She compared the price of paste colors to the liquid food coloring that comes in those little bottles. Paste food coloring costs less because you get far more paste coloring in a container and also it takes far less to color a batch of frosting, as an example.

Paste food coloring will last for years. Also in addition to the paste colors being cheaper they are also richer than liquid colors. For example the liquid red will make pink, but won’t produce a true red frosting.


It is hard to explain how to exactly make these items, but Ann has given instructions (not very detailed) on how to make a workshop/gardening apron, a tote bag, a neck-roll pillow, wall organizer, jean vest and a purse.

Use your imagination and go on line for other ideas. You can find all sorts of ideas on line for what to make out of old jeans. I have a few pairs of jeans set aside to make a new skirt. Hopefully after my son’s graduation and party (in one month) I will finally have the time to sit down and make one.

There is something about jeans that makes me reluctant to get rid of them as they are always so sturdy and can be made into other useful items.


Sooner or later all of us will have to plan a funeral for a loved one. My husband and I have had some discussions about our funerals. My main consideration was to make sure that my best friend picked out the outfit I would wear in my casket as my husband is almost all color blind.

In all seriousness, it brings me a great deal of comfort knowing that we have discussed this and that he has left me a letter in our safety deposit box outlining other wishes he has.

Amy suggested that you write to the Continental Association of Funeral and Memorial Societies for answers to any questions. Now with the internet you can Google to find answers to any questions you may have regarding funerals. Also many funeral homes have websites.

Memorial Societies are membership organizations that work with consumers to keep funeral costs low.

Sit down and talk with your spouse or other loved one about what you want in a service and other arrangements when you die. As an example, I don’t want my husband to spend a ton of money on a casket. For me it is ridiculous to spend a lot of money for a body I no longer need. But that is just me; others may want an expensive casket. Talk about the service you want. My husband is serious when he told me he wants the funeral luncheon to be catered by “Burger King” as that is his favorite fast food restaurant. Everyone is to wear a crown at the luncheon.

He in turn knows what I want and because we have discussed this, it will bring a little more peace of mind when the time comes.

Laws have changed since Amy wrote this article and the laws differ from State to State. However, one thing remains certain, funerals can be costly. When I worked on estates at the law firm I worked at, the average price of a funeral was around $8,000 including the memorial stone.

Amy outlines some options such as cremation versus burial, donating your body to medical science and having a funeral later. I urge you to do some checking in your local community as to the average price of a funeral and look at all of the costs such as having the funeral at the funeral home or in a church, the cost of music and the pastor. Some people opt for only a graveside service.

My experience firsthand with planning a funeral was for our baby girl. She was born March 1, 1984 and she died 3 hours after her birth. We had a grave side service for her and the funeral cost around $900 and that didn’t count the memorial stone. It was around $200 extra.

My husband and I have insurance that will cover the cost of our funerals. We also have Last Wills and Testaments for after we die and we also have Living Wills and Powers of Attorney for while we are alive. A discussion about funerals should also include these documents as being equally important as the planning of a funeral.

We will continue our Tightwad Gazette II reading on Monday, April 25th with pages 88 through 97. Have a wonderful Easter weekend everyone. I am looking forward to spending Easter with my family. Tomorrow I will finish some painting and will also enjoy an afternoon of cleaning and baking.

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