Tips for Saving on a Live Christmas Tree

If you're one of the millions of Americans planning to celebrate the Christmas holiday with a real Christmas tree, you're no doubt trying to decide when and where to buy one without chipping away at your holiday budget. The National Christmas Tree Association reports the cost of a live Christmas tree ranges from $15 to $200 depending on factors such as tree size, the species, where it's sold, and when you buy it. Truth be told, we've never seen one priced as low as $15, but if you have, do share. In the meantime, here are some tips for getting the best price on a real Christmas tree.

Compare prices. If you live in a city, there are probably many live Christmas tree lots within a few miles of your home. So do a little comparison shopping. Compare species, sizes, and freshness of the trees at each live Christmas tree lot before making a decision. Bear in mind that the available species depend on your location and how well the live Christmas tree crop fared.

Look for coupons. In an effort to get your business, many live Christmas tree sellers may tempt you with deals and coupons.

Shop at the right time. The live Christmas tree lots fill up on weekends, but why not get the family together and head out to the tree lot on a weeknight when the crowds aren't as thick and prices may be lower? Pushing this tip to the extreme, Mommy Poppins recommends buying your live Christmas tree on Christmas Eve when vendors are eager to clear out the lot. But take heed: You might hit the jackpot with a beautiful, cheap tree or return home with a less appealing, picked-over tree.

Don't be afraid to negotiate a bargain. points out that in New York City especially, haggling with live Christmas tree vendors is customary and a tactic worth trying if you want to score a bargain. It's not guaranteed to work, but hey, it never hurts to ask.

Cut it down yourself.The DIY approach may take more time and effort, but if you're willing to drive out to a tree farm and chop away, you could end up with a bigger, better, and fresher live Christmas tree, not to mention some extra cash in your pocket. Mommy Poppins notes that some tree farms charge a flat rate for any live Christmas tree, some charge according to species and size, and others raise the rate on weekends. Check out the pricing policies as well as business hours before heading out to get your real Christmas tree. A quick online search will reveal tree farms near you along with their contact information.

Take care at home. Whether you traipse through a wooded farm to cut down a real Christmas tree or wheel and deal on a tree lot, it needs proper care once you've gotten it home. Plenty of water will keep the branches green and the Christmas spirit bright.

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