Premier Brad Wall is hinting the upcoming Saskatchewan budget may not be balanced.

Wall says the goal has been to balance the books, but he says the government also needs to conduct itself in a way that doesn't shock the economy or gut public services.

When asked by reporters about the idea of postponing plans to balance the budget this year, Wall said it is an option.

The province needs to save money because a big drop in natural resource revenue -- as well as lower than expected tax revenue and higher crop insurance claims -- has pushed the deficit up to about $1.2 billion.

Wall has already said the government wants public sector wages and benefits cut by 3.5 per cent in the coming fiscal year.

The budget is to be released March 22.