Sure, you can pare down on presents, but you can’t skip out on buying a Christmas tree. It’s the pièce de résistance.
There are plenty of ways to save money on your Christmas tree, though, whether you prefer the fresh-cut smell of Fraser fir or choose a no-fuss artificial.
The following tips will ensure you land a tree for less.
1. Opt for artificial
In the long run, an artificial tree is the most economical option.
Shoppers paid an average of $75 for a live tree versus $107 for a new artificial tree in 2017, according to a survey from the National Christmas Tree Association, a trade group that represents the live Christmas tree industry. So, an artificial tree pays for itself after two seasons.
Going with an artificial tree will also give you more options, particularly if you buy it online. Just take a look at the selection at Amazon, for example.
2. Cut your own
If you’re willing to make like the Griswolds, you can get one of the best deals on a Christmas tree.
The U.S. Forest Service issues permits to harvest trees for use as indoors at Christmas. For example, holiday tree permits from Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest are only $5. One permit lets you cut one tree that is up to 12 feet tall.
Contact your nearest forest to ask about your options.
3. Look for a wholesale dealer
You might save money by skipping the middleman and buying directly from a tree wholesaler. Not every dealer will sell to individual customers, but some do.
To find wholesale dealers in your state, visit the Christmas Tree Farm Network’s website.
4. Call around
As with any type of shopping, calling around to various businesses and comparing prices is a great way to get a good price on a live Christmas tree.
Stop by the National Christmas Tree Association website and use its tree locator tool to find tree farms and lots in your area. Then, start dialing around for the best deal.
5. Pick a popular species
While all Christmas tree varieties offer unique and desirable features, you’ll likely get the best deal on more popular picks.
For example, the Douglas fir is one of the top Christmas tree species, thanks to its pleasant aroma and bountiful branches. At Brown’s Tree Farm in Muncy, Pennsylvania, the wholesale price for an 8- to 10-foot Douglas fir is $36. Compare that to $50 for a concolor fir, a variety more often used to make furniture than to decorate during the holidays.
6. Bring your best offer
Negotiating is not out of the question at a tree lot.
If you fall in love with a tree that’s slightly out of your price range, make an offer on it. Or make an offer simply because you have nothing to lose by trying. Maybe there’s an awkward gap in the branches or minor discoloration you can leverage.
7. Size down
You’ll do best picking the smallest tree for your home.
Cut-your-own farms like Wyckoff’s Christmas Tree Farm in Belvidere, New Jersey, charge per foot. Even pre-cut trees are priced based on size. So, if you can settle on a 6- or 7-footer or smaller, you stand to save significantly.
8. Hold out for a while
Grocery stores and once-vacant parking lots start to fill with Christmas trees in early November. But some sellers have been known to slash prices as the holiday draws near.
9. Shop after the holidays
If you’re considering an artificial tree, timing is everything. January is a great time to stock up on Christmas decorations, including trees — with clearance deals ranging from 50 to 85 percent off.
As we noted in “The Best and Worst Things to Buy in January 2018”:
“Last year’s best sales were at Lowe’s, which offered strings of lights for $2 and a 6½-foot pre-lit Christmas tree for $19. Also check The Home Depot and Target, both of which are likely to slash prices on holiday offerings. That said, any retailer with seasonal items will be trying to get rid of them.”
What’s your favorite way to cut the cost of a Christmas tree? Share it by commenting below or on Money Talks News’ Facebook page.
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