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This is which type of Christmas tree will save you money

Real tree or artificial? Most people have a preference based on how the tree looks but experts say if saving money is your main focus, the choice is clear.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The cost of Christmas across the board has increased. Just about everything is more expensive, and that includes the star of the show: the Christmas tree.

Whether you prefer your tree real or fake, money is being spent -- and a lot of it. According to Nielsen research commissioned by the nonprofit American Christmas Tree Association last holiday season, U.S. households spent $984 million buying 21.6 million real trees and a whopping $1.01 billion purchasing 12.9 million artificial ones. 

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.  

While the data shows artificial trees are more expensive, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the bigger picture. Sure, you'll pay more up front for an artificial tree, but experts say you'll end up saving money over time. 

Artificial trees are used for an average of 10 years according to the American Christmas Tree Association, so over time, you’ll get your money’s worth.

If you're in the market for an artificial tree just know where you buy it has a lot to do with how much you'll pay.

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Generally speaking, trees are more expensive at specialty Christmas shops -- some argue they’re also better quality -- versus at big box stores, so it’s wise to shop around to find one you like that's also within your budget.

Contact Carolyn Bruck at cbruck@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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