ST. CLOUD -- If you can't pay cash, don't get it. That's the message of a financial councilor from Lutheran Social Services, as you start to ramp-up your holiday shopping.

Ruth Hutchins says putting yourself into debt just isn't worth it. She says, if you put $500 on your credit card and pay just the monthly minimum, you'll still be paying for this year's Christmas presents four years from now.

She says a better alternative is to bake your gifts for some people, and put more of a focus on family traditions -- not the presents.

Lutheran Social Services offers free financial counseling year round.

Lutheran Social Services website