Deidre Payton spent Saturday like so many Philadelphians - Christmas shopping on what was expected to be one of the biggest buying days of the year.

She was with several grandchildren, who spent the morning selecting gifts they had dreamed about the past few months, including a Lava Lamp and Play-Doh. They were outside a Five Below store at 15th and Chestnut Streets, headed next to a nearby Old Navy.

But unlike many in the spending way Saturday, Payton's objective was, in part, restraint. For her, Super Saturday meant being super careful.

"We learned how to use what we have. You can't go over your means," Payton said.

On Super Saturday - the last full Saturday shopping day before Christmas - Americans spend more than almost any day of the year. The National Retail Federation estimated 156 million Americans would find their way to a store, mall, or website Saturday for holiday shopping. That's more than the estimated 137 million that turned out last month on Black Friday and the rest of that weekend, the official start of the Christmas shopping season.

Yet many Philadelphians are forced to balance holiday cheer with economic worry this season. Twenty-eight percent of Philadelphia residents, or almost 500,000 people, live below the federal poverty level and will struggle to afford gifts. Twenty-seven percent of shoppers plan to shop at discount stores, according to the National Retail Federation.

Alex Chapman, 38, a dog groomer from Philadelphia, said that while she has shopped for the holiday season in the past, this year she simply can't afford it. The money she has must go toward food and rent, she said.

"I haven't shopped at all. I'm making things for people," she said. She has decided to sculpt gifts for her friends.

More than 20 percent of Americans will use an emergency fund, payday loan, or retirement savings to fund holiday spending, according to a T. Rowe Price survey.

At the Dollar Tree in the underground concourse of Suburban Station, holiday gifts and seasonal items were on sale, but shoppers were more focused on buying staples. Food was the dominant item in several carts.

In 2015, at least 50 percent of holiday shoppers did not anticipate paying off spending loans until at least April of the following year, according to the Federal Reserve. Some anticipated needing to wait until January 2017 to become debt-free, the Fed said.

For the budget-conscious Payton, her personal Christmas list was as simple as her spending plan.

"I just wish God continues to bless me," she said. "That's all."

215-854-5915 @RebeccaHeilweil