5 Tips To Cut Christmas Tree Costs

Many of you may have already snagged your Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, but for those still searching for the perfect fit in a fir, there are ways to find a good tree for right price, so you can spend more on presents and eggnog.

SmartMoney takes a look at some ways you can find just the right tree for just the right price. Of course, if you’ve got a faux fir, just go ahead and dust that baby off.

1. Pricing methods matter: Do a little math, as some Christmas tree sellers price their goods by the foot, or just charge a flat rate. When calling around, mention the specific height you want your tree to be. Don’t just head to the tree lot, either, check out garden centers, supermarkets and home improvement stores.

2. Species matters: When you think of a Christmas tree, you could be picturing any of around 30 kinds of trees. There’s the sturdy Fraser Fir, or the sharper Blue Spruce — and many varieties are more expensive than others in certain areas.

3. Get an ax: Yes, it is okay for you to cut down your own tree — if you’ve got a permit and are in the right spot. The U.S. Forest Service sells permits for as low as $10. But you can’t just go next door and hack down your neighbor’s tree, of course. Not that any of you ever considered that.

4. Fresh is best: If you don’t want a droopy sad brown thing come Christmas morning, ask where your tree has come from. The shorter the distance, the more likely it is to be fresh. Branches should snap when bent, instead of flexing — the former indicates they can still take in more moisture.

5. Bring on your bartering skills: Many vendors only paid $10 per tree for each permit to cut it, so there is some significant profit margin to work with. Offer half the sticker price off the bat, and go from there.

For more advice on buying a Christmas tree, check out the complete list a SmartMoney.

8 Ways to Trim Christmas Tree Costs [SmartMoney]