Top Tips To Avoid Holiday Spending Mistakes From A Denver Financial Pro

December 4, 2012 6:00 AM


One of the most dreaded aspects of the holiday season is the inevitable overspending that just seems to happen. While economic conditions of the past few years have necessitated a tightening of the purse strings, it can still be easy to overdo it. Fortunately, you don’t have to overspend. Aaron Grey, CFP, Financial Advisor and Managing Partner with Denver Money Manager LLC, offers a few tips and tricks that you can use to make sure that you stay on budget. By following these guidelines, you can stick to your budget and worry about other things come New Year’s (like working off all of that extra pie).

1. Have a plan.

One of the main things that gets people into trouble during the holidays is the tendency to meander through the mall and grab things at random because they seem like a good deal. Grey suggests taking a more organized approach; “We suggest that you write down a list of everybody that you want to buy a gift for and assign a dollar amount that you plan to spend on each. If you’d like to get your nephew an action figure but it turns out that action figures cost a lot more today than they did when you were a kid, you might be tempted to overspend if you don’t have a hard cap set for his gift.”

You can also visit some local retailers for gifts with a more personal touch. That way, you can put more thought into it and avoid the temptation of having too many retailers to choose from. Here are some local merchants with affordable, quality gifts.

Pandora on the Hill
220 E. 13th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 832-7073

This family owned and operated shop offers jewelry and other gifts for your loved ones. With everything from kitschy stationary for less than $20 to mini bath and body sets for around $25, this store is perfect for your quirky, girly friend. The shop is known for jewelry from designers such as Tarina Tarantino. Most of the store’s merchandise sells for under $100.

Haley’s Heart
200 Quebec St., Suite 300-109
Denver, CO 80230
(720) 859-6745

Located in the Lowry redevelopment area, this shop has everything from clothing and accessories to books and home décor. With gifts for the whole family and several options under $50, Haley’s Heart is a great place to go if you have more than one person to shop for. If you are looking for small gifts for coworkers or teachers, stop by this store.

Related: Top Denver Gifts for Her

Fruits of Our Spirit
19565 E. Main St.
Parker, CO 80138
(303) 840-7266

This cozy home décor shop in downtown Parker offers a lot of options for people in your life with comfy, country style. Owner Becca is friendly and welcoming and loves helping customers find the right product. From fall candles to handmade pottery, there are a lot of thoughtful gifts in this store. With several options under $50, you can find something for the person in your life who appreciates unique, handcrafted decorations.

2. It’s the thought that counts.

When planning your gift list, it’s best to base it on a budget that is realistic and manageable. Grey states, “First remember that the holidays are not a spending contest. Frequently, a homemade gift or a heartfelt gesture are just as good if not better than the latest pair of designer jeans. If you are not in a position to spend extra money during the holidays, resist the temptation to do so.”

Why not show someone that you care with a gift basket? You don’t need to splurge on the $120 basket to say that you care. Try one of the baskets at the following retailers.



Jerry’s Nut House
2101 Humboldt St.
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 861-2262

Instead of sending someone a generic popcorn tin, visit Jerry’s Nut House and get one with fresh popcorn. With several flavors to choose from, you can customize a tin with the recipient in mind. A 3.5-gallon tin sells for $30. If that is out of your budget for one person, you can also build smaller tins, jars and baskets with nuts, trail mix, chocolate-covered pretzels and much more. Smaller gift packages are very affordable and the store offers gift packages for under $10 as well.

Related: Top Spots for a Chocolate Fix in Denver

Colorado Sweet Treats
6007 Zinnia Court
Arvada, CO 80004
(303) 432-0741

This locally owned and operated store specializes in custom gift baskets. With several Colorado-specific products, coffee and cocoa cones, this store is great for picking up small gifts or personalized baskets. It offers several candy gifts for under $5, so this is also a good place to find stocking stuffers.

3. Remove the option to overspend.

If you are the type of person who thinks that you’ll just put it all on the card and worry about it in January, you are causing yourself undue stress and will end up paying more in the long run. Fight the urge to bust out the plastic by leaving it behind. According to Grey, this is the best way to ensure that you don’t resort to credit. “Leave your credit cards at home. Instead, add up the budgeted cost of all of the people on your list and withdraw just enough cash from the bank to cover the total. If you do break the rules and run up a credit card balance, take every last cent of cash that aunt June or grandma Sally gave you and send it to your credit card company on the morning of the 26th,” he advises.

For more information about Denver Money Manager LLC, click here.

Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found at