People dread memorial services not because they're a stark reminder of our own mortality but because they are expensive. The average funeral can cost tens of thousands of dollars between embalming fees, a casket and other expenses. The high cost often leads people to create crowdfunding campaigns so they can lay their loved ones to rest with the respect they deserve.

Before you need to set a date, how can you plan an affordable memorial service?

Skip the Funeral Home

While you'll need to work with the funeral home when it comes to cremation or burial, depending on your loved one's wishes, there's no rule stating you have to hold your funeral or memorial service there. Renting out space in the funeral home can set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Save yourself some money and host the memorial service at home, in your church, or at a local park. Anywhere you're allowed to host a gathering becomes an option. Aim for places that don't charge you a fee to use their space.

Opt for No Frills

Funeral homes are there to help you through what is often the hardest time in life, but they're also businesses. Like any other business, their goal is to make money, and they might try to upsell you with all sorts of features and options, most of which are almost entirely unnecessary. Opt for a no-frills burial or cremation. In many parts of the country, you can purchase a no-frills service for less than $1,000.

Pre-Pay as Much as Possible

Life insurance is one option for paying for your inevitable funeral service. If that isn't an option for whatever reason, it's a good idea to pre-pay as much as possible.

Figure out which funeral home you're planning to use and talk to them about creating a pre-paid plan so when you finally make that final journey, everything is paid for and your loved ones don't have to worry about scraping together the costs for your service.

If you're not sure you're going to be in the same area when you reach your end, life insurance or a pre-paid funeral plan will be the better option because they follow you everywhere.

Shop Around

You don't have to work with the first funeral home that crosses your path. Shop around and see what your options are before you need them. In some parts of the country, especially where concentrated retiree populations make the funeral industry a competitive one, you might be able to find a much better deal than you could by stopping on the first business that pops up in your Google search.

Purchase the Marker Later

One of the biggest expenses, after the service and the burial or cremation, is the cost of the grave marker. If burial or interment is your choice, keep in mind that you don't need to buy the grave marker immediately, and you also don't need to buy it from the funeral home.

Buy it directly from the manufacturers to avoid the markup, and feel free to put it off as long as you deem necessary so you're not spending a ton of money that might not be available during this difficult time.

It's Not About How Much You Spend

When it comes down to it, it's not about how much you spend. It's about honoring the life of the deceased. You don't need to break the bank to do that - all you need is a place to gather the people who loved them, where you can share stories and memories. We all die at one time or another. Don't make your funeral a game of one-upmanship.

Martin Banks is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Modded. Find him on Twitter at @TModded.