Bonsai trees are bought and sold at any stage in their lives, so your best options for getting a discount depend on how you start off with your tree. It could be fully grown, a cutting from another tree, seeds, or a seedling.
If you plan to start with a ready grown tree, you can find cheap bonsai trees for sale through private sellers on auction websites. You can also find discounts available, typically a percentage off the cost at specialist bonsai stores, through shopping coupon websites.
Regular bonsai customers, such as resellers and bonsai educators, are able to get repeat customer discounts from wholesalers. If you're only making one purchase, but perhaps buying several trees for different locations, or buying tools and accessories with your trees, you can probably still qualify for multi buy or shipping discounts.
Newcomers to bonsai might find it good value to buy one of the many bonsai kits for sale on the market, which range from ready grown and potted trees with plant food and pruning tools, to bonsai gardening kits with seeds and instructions.
Your local garden centre or nursery will also probably have small trees or seedlings that could be grown in the bonsai style, so keep up to date with any special offers or discounts they have.
Finally, the cheapest way of getting your tree would be to collect and propagate a cutting from a plant growing in the wild. You can also find cuttings and other bonsai material for sale through clubs or on auction websites.
A bonsai tree can be yours for many years, and you will soon find the starting costs far outweighed by the admiration for these beautiful little plants.