|One big purchase worth saving on: the Christmas tree, which can set families back a few hundred dollars.|
There are several areas in the country where you can chop down your own evergreen after buying a $4 to $15 permit from the National Forest Service or your local Bureau of Land Management office. Additional charges for the tree will vary, depending on where you ultimately get the tree. "This is by far the most affordable way to get a high quality, live Christmas tree," says Andrew Schrage, a founder of MoneyCrashers.com and a Savings.com Deal Pro. Comparison shop.
There's probably more than one local tree provider within driving distance of your home, so Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert with CouponSherpa.com, suggests plugging your ZIP code into the National Christmas Tree Association Web site to scout out all of your options. Once you have a list in hand, you can call around to find out who is offering the trees for the most reasonable price. Schrage says real Christmas trees sold at major retailers, such as Wal-Mart or Home Depot, are already some of the cheapest around, but local farms are often your best bet for a "quality live tree that is sure to last through the holidays." You can also buy a Christmas tree online, so Woroch suggests looking for coupon codes for artificial trees on ChristmasTreesGalore.com, ChristmasCentral.com, ChristmasLightsEtc.com and HolidayDecorationsDirect.com. Schrage says folks in the market for an artificial tree should expect to spend at least $100. Haggle.
Once you've identified the most affordable provider in your area, don't be afraid to see if you can get an even deeper discount. "Look for any imperfections and ask for a price reduction," Woroch says. You can check out this article if you need to learn more about haggling. Hold out.
The truth is, the closer you get to Dec. 25, the cheaper trees -- especially fresh-cut ones -- are going to get, since retailers look to unload excess inventory as Christmas nears. Woroch suggests holding out until the week before Christmas, then calling around to local providers to ask if they have any extras they want to get rid of or any trees available at a discount. >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.