People out shopping for those minute holiday gifts across Saskatchewan are trying to watch the bottom line, as experts suggest we should spend a little less this year.

'If it's just a few bucks, no problem.' - Edgar Yagin

"I think Christmas is not only for the gifts," said Liza Yagin as she braved the crowds over the weekend in downtown Saskatoon.

"It's like, being together with the family, celebrating with the food and everything. I think that's the thoughts at Christmas. Not only for the gifts."

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People are out now trying to finish up their holiday gift shopping, but one expert warns consumers not to spend more than they can afford.

A report out earlier this month suggested that people in this province will spend about $647 this year. That is down slightly from last year's $709.

Yet, Saskatchewan shoppers are still spending at a rate that's above the national average, and one debt consultant knows there are people out there right now who are racking up debt that they'll be unable to pay off when the bills start rolling in.

Naida Kornuta calls it the "Christmas hangover."

Cure is year of prevention 

Kornuta, a trustee with MNP Debt, was a guest on CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.  

Her cure, sadly, takes a full year of prevention. Kornuta said people should begin saving money early in the New Year, and then spend only what they've been able to save.

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People should start saving cash now to avoid debt problems next year, said debt consultant Naida Kornuta. (CBC)

"Build a budget, set a budget and manage that budget," she said. "Take a list, stick to your list, have an amount in mind on that list for each individual and try to use cash if you can."

Failure to do so, she said can lead to unmanageable credit card debt. Cards are required by law to show how long it will take to settle a debt if you pay only the minimum amount. Some of those figures, Kornuta said, can be dizzying and impossible to pay.

"I've seen some that were 145 years, and they weren't even that huge."

It's a situation that may require the help of a professional like Kornuta.

It the sort of advice some shoppers like the Yagin family take to heart. Edgar Yagin has now finished his shopping, and for the most part, stuck to his budget.

"If it's just a few bucks, no problems but, like $20 or more, I think it's too much."