[sponsored] December can be one of the most expensive months of the year, for obvious reasons.  So “Real Simple” magazine has a list of ways to make the holidays more affordable.  Here are the top four.

#1.)  Don’t Buy a Christmas Tree Yet.  The prices start dropping as Christmas gets closer, because on December 26th they’re worthless.  So if you hold out until Christmas Eve, you can save up to 30 or 40%.

Just ask how long the tree has been on the lot before you buy it.  If it arrived before December 10th, it might not last the month.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price.  If you’re nice about it, they might give you an extra 10% off.

#2.)  Save on Postage.  Shipping rates are determined by three things:  The weight, the destination, and the size of the box.  So make sure you use the smallest box you can.

The flat rate boxes at the post office cost between $5 and $11, and you’re allowed to fill them with up to 70 pounds of stuff.

Also, if you’re mailing presents to somewhere close . . . like within the same state . . . you might not have to send it ‘next-day’ to get it there on time.  Even if it’s a few days from Christmas.

If you’re willing to risk it, you can save a lot.  Or just stop being lazy and mail everything as soon as possible.

#3.)  Don’t Buy Red or White Flowers.  Things like roses and lilies can cost up to 30% more in December, because red and white are popular holiday colors.

#4.)  Search the Internet for Better Prices on Wine.  Instead of going to the closest store, check the website

It has a database of thousands of stores nationwide.  And when you enter the vintage and your zip code, it tells you the best price in your area.

You can also save a lot if you buy wine that’s made in less prestigious areas.  Look for wines made in Oregon, Santa Barbara, and France’s Loire Valley.  They’re up to 50% cheaper than wines from more famous spots.


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