I love working with the people I serve. Over the years I have worked with all kinds of people- nice people, cranky people, scared people, confident people, people who have it all together and people who are struggling to keep it all together.  I have worked with mega-wealthy people and I have worked with homeless people. And everyone that I work with has one thing in common- a deep and meaningful love for someone they have lost.

Today’s post is all about how those people who have hit incredibly tough times can honor their loved one with a beautiful memorial. How they have worked to create a special memorial for someone they love regardless of their financial position- and you can too.

If you find yourself wondering how you will ever make that monument happen for a loved one, then keep reading for my top 5 tips on buying your loved one a headstone- even when you are broke.

1. Re-Evaluate Your Desires

It is important to remember that a show of expense does not define the love you have for your loved one.

Keeping that in mind, if your budget prohibits you from getting the memorial you want, you might consider simplifying the memorial. You can do that by knowing what story you want to tell about your loved one and considering a smaller or less elaborate memorial. 

If all else fails, remember that the ultimate desire is for his or her name and dates of life to always be remembered.

2. Choose a Less Expensive Material

Many people do not realize that the color of granite chosen will impact the price. Remember- granite is a natural material and each color comes from a very specific place in the world. For foreign colors, there are transportation costs, importing taxes and fees and more, thus making the price higher.

While exotic colors are absolutely beautiful, they might not be the right choice if funding is a concern.

Beware and remember that you want this monument to be permanent. DO NOT compromise on the type or quality of stone but do be willing to compromise on the color and size.

3. Brainstorm Ways to Get Funding

My dad used to say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” You have probably heard that before, and we see examples of that saying being put into practice all the time!

We have had customers get incredibly creative while collecting funds for their memorial. Some common ideas include:

  • Crowd Sourcing
  • Help Through Non-Profits
  • The Crime Victim’s Fund (if the deceased was a victim of violent crime)
  • Assistance from the Tribe (if the deceased was a member)
  • Assistance from FEMA (if the deceased has COVID-19 on the death certificate)
  • Using a VA marker (if the deceased was a Veteran)

4. Work Out Payment Terms

We are used to working with all kinds of budgets- everything from unlimited to nonexistent! If a customer is up front about his or her situation it is easier for us to help them find nice but inexpensive memorial options.

By knowing the situation up front, we can work with the customer to create a reasonable payment plan or point them in the direction of a agency, fund, group or bank that can potentially assist them.  

5. Be Patient

Sometimes it feels as though you have looked everywhere, talked to everyone and still come up empty handed. If this is you, be patient and remain diligent!

We do occasionally have memorials that we mark down. We call them “Bob’s Bargains”. Keep an eye on our online store- you never know what will go on sell next!

Written by Alison Raymer, Certified Memorialist

Alison Raymer is the co-owner of Emerson Monument Company in Springdale, Arkansas. As a child she thought she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Instead, she became a different kind of story teller- one that tells stories in stone. As Arkansas’ only Certified Memorialist, Alison helps families preserve precious memories and legacies for future generations yet to come. She holds a Bachelors in Professional Accountancy from Ouachita Baptist University and a Masters in Business Administration from John Brown University. She has served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Monument Builders of North America and as a representative on the Funeral and Memorial Information Council.