September Economic Pulse

Minnesota Public Radio News wants to track how the economy is affecting Minnesotans\' monthly finances. Tell us a little about what you\'re seeing. Help make our economy reporting smarter.

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Wade KellerMinneapolis, MN 55419
August Outlook? looking better

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Improve. Even though I am in real estate and the overall picture there is bleak, my role I play is one that continues to expand and grow and become more rewarding.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
A new couch. Vacation (plane tix, hotel reservations) - Not really putting any non-essentials on the backburner - I've become and am a minimalist.

Saving more or less?
I will save more as I will be earning more.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Carl IrelandApple Valley, MN 55124
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Neither. My wife and I have been retired for 10 1/2 years so our situation is basically static. My retirement income is a fixed amount so does not increase with inflation. We have, in effect, lost income over the years of our retirement but it has not been a problem. Fortunately, I have been able to work part-time for the company I retired from which has helped considerably.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Will not be purchasing any significant non-essentials or putting any off.

Saving more or less?
Neither. No reason to.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Parnell ThillCloquet, MN 55720
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Improve, then worsen. Picked up another adjunct teaching gig at a nearby university...but sending one of my kid's off to private college next week, so that'll hurt.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Our definition of "non-essentials" is utterly arbitrary. In the end, very little is "essential." ...But we still spend. So, we'll eat at restaurants, buy wine, visit friends and fam around the state, etc.

Saving more or less?
We'll save about the same...which is "not much."
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Betsey PorterBloomington, MN 55431
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
I do not expect to change unless something catastrophic happens.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
I'm avoiding getting my brakes inspected. I have to pay for my tabs which went from $35/yr to $219/yr with the purchase of a new used car last year. YIKES!

Saving more or less?
I am not in a position to save anything.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Suzy MeneguzzoOwatonna, MN 55060
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Unclear- health issues make the future muddy.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Purchased piece of furniture. Will put off other home repairs/remodel. Also, starting to think about recreational expenditures but accepting that they may still be a few years off.

Saving more or less?
Likely to save more- less expenditures from summer vacations and play.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Tom JorgensCrookston, MN 56716
August Outlook? looking better

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
I see growing signs of a recovery. Business is increasing again.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
home improvements clothing travel None

Saving more or less?
yes, increasing level of saving and investment
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Anne SawyerNorthfield, MN 55057
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
No change.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Non-essentials like canning equipment for fall produce (although that could be considered essential), maybe some clothing (for fall/winter), accessories for our recently remodeled bathroom (towels, toothbrush holders, etc.).

Saving more or less?
Same. Wish I could save more, but I'm not particularly good at it. I have reserve savings, but adding to it regularly is something I need to improve upon. Plus, I don't feel economically threatened... stable jobs, bills that are manageable, etc.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Dale SiegfreidAustin, MN 55912
August Outlook? looking better

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Worsen - revenues about the same but college bills for my oldest (age 18) and braces for my youngest (15) will decrease our net assets.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Nonessentials would include eating out, maybe a weekend in a hotel for the family.

Saving more or less?
Save more. My wife's a teacher and hopefully she'll be bringing in a pay check.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
James AllenAlexandria, MN 56308
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
I expect my financial situation to worsen over the next month. I will have two children in college and I will also be going back to school, which means less earning power on my part.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
We are putting off home improvements, especially carpet, shingles and replacing the deck. We have really cut back on non-essential purchases, have been for the better part of a year

Saving more or less?
Save less money, college tuition(s)
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Aaron FontaineFridley, MN 55432
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Stay the same. My salary has already been restored back to full pay and I recently received a raise. My company is holding very steady.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
I spend a lot on food: local, organic, etc. I don't really try to be cost-conscious when buying such items since I like supporting small farmers. I also buy a lot of books and will probably shell out for classes here or there: cooking, wine tasting, etc.

Saving more or less?
Probably more. I always have enough left over to stash in the bank. My credit card bill's been getting a bit too steep so when I get conscious of that, I try to cut back on things.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Chris EnstadCrystal, MN 55422
August Outlook? worrisome

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
I'm not sure. Being clergy puts me at a huge disadvantage when a. my chuch is slow to have openings and b. a non-church business is reluctant to hire me if I may decamp to an open congregation if one appears. Catch-22

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
We just bought a plane ticket for my wife to attend her cousins wedding but she is the only one going. We are delaying car maintenance and home maintenance and making minimum payments on hospital bills.

Saving more or less?
We have no idea because we have only one income and are already spending down our savings and retirement accounts.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Stephanie DobsonAnoka, MN 55303
August Outlook? worrisome

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Stay the same when it should be improving. I am graduating from an MBA program at the end of August. Thanks to Governor Pawlenty's adversity to affordable education for working class people, I have $60,000 worth of student loans to pay off and very little chance of finding a better paying job. I will probably end up filing for bankruptcy when my student loans come due unless the economy improves.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
I will buy no non-essentials next month. My glasses are scratched but I can't afford new lenses. My poodle needs a haircut. I spent $60 on a razor to try to do it myself.

Saving more or less?
My savings will be about the same. There is nothing left to cut from my budget.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Glenda BossowMankato, MN 56001
August Outlook? worrisome

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
It all depends on if my husband gets a job.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
We haven't bought any non-essentials all summer.

Saving more or less?
Less; a trip to Iowa means a week-end of work forfeited.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Karen BellLakeville, MN 55044
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Remain the same, although I worry about layoffs.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Probably some bicycle equipment (because I always do) and maybe some junk food treats for my kids. Otherwise I'm not interested in nonessentials. This speaks to a change that has been occurring for a few years in my life, though. We are a consumer-based economy and I'm just tired of consuming. I'm looking for more meaningful ways to spend my time. I spend money on experiences or equipment that allows those experiences to happen.

Saving more or less?
Maybe less. School starts and I have that initial layout to look forward to...
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Sara CheeverEden Prairie, MN 55346
August Outlook? worrisome

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Worsen. I will end a six-month contract assignment on October 1 and am not sure if I will be able to land something by then. My position was eliminated in November 2008 and I have yet to find a full-time position.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Not sure. We try to keep our non-essentials spending to a minimum.

Saving more or less?
Probably a little more next month - our car insurance is due this month. We try to save around 35 - 40% of our net income.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Barbara MillerEagan, MN 55122
August Outlook? worrisome

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
I strongly suspect it will worsen. Next month? Not sure. But sooner than later. Why? Because no one, from either party, has come close to lassoing this rogue bear economy. It's all built on wobbly ground at best. I am working hard to not tumble into your "bleak" category.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Putting off a couple of kitchen appliances. Hoping AC holds out a while longer. And now that I'm not shopping at Target (!), there is bound to be a reduction in non-essential spending.

Saving more or less?
Hoping to break even, compared to last month, wrt savings. Harder to feed the kitty at this point.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
John HelgersonVictoria, MN 55386
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Neither better nor worse. Slow growth, minimal return on investments, stagnant real estate market.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Do not plan to purchase any non-essentials.

Saving more or less?
Savings will remain at current level--no room to increase.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Steven HepokoskiMaple Grove, MN 55369
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
I don't foresee much change for the next year. Health care delivery seems to be in a holding pattern right now.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
We bought a new car last week. We will be planning next year's vacations soon.

Saving more or less?
I have my saving pulled pre-tax from my pay. It is fixed monthly and yearly and I have no plans to change the amount.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Steven HepokoskiMaple Grove, MN 55369
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
I expect no change. Health care seems to be in a holding pattern from last year's cuts. Our clinic is beginning to hire again.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
We purchased a new car last week. We will begin planning next year's vacations soon.

Saving more or less?
My savings come out of my pay on a pre-tax basis. I will not be making any changes in the amount this year.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
J BeihofferLakeville, MN 55044
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Stay the same

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
None that I can think of for now.

Saving more or less?
About the same
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Terry Branhamlakeville, MN 55044
August Outlook? worrisome

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Likely to worsen over the next few months as we are retired now due to the economy and inability to make enough money that was more than if we went to Social Security so this hot summer has cost us 4 times what we planned for air conditioning

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
No Non-essentials. Putting off the need for a new TV as one recently stopped working.

Saving more or less?
Less money due to paying for air conditioning
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Mert LassondeLakeville, MN 55044
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
I expect to remain the same since there is no significant hiring activity

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Dine out

Saving more or less?
Not saving. I am retired.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Bill HigdonSpring Park, MN 55384
August Outlook? bright

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Expect improvement. I helped found a renewable energy company, which is at long last succeeding. Much credit has to go to the Obama administration with their support, albeit somewhat feeble, for renewable energy.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
No plans to buy non-essentials right away.

Saving more or less?
Not likely to save any money yet, as I need to pay down credit card debt.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Paul ShryerEveleth, MN 55734
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Probably stay about the same.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
At this point I'm just trying to pay down some debt and get a little ahead. Anything beyond that is being put off.

Saving more or less?
I will save a bit more, mostly because I will have a bit closer to the surface.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Katie Zook HeggeMinneapolis, MN 55418
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
My husband got a job so his income is becoming more steady. I am getting more freelance work now, which is expected to continue through September, but after that, I don't know what I will do. I have begun looking for different kinds of work - like Trader Joe's and UPS - but they are not hiring in this area. I am just starting in my own business and it takes time to build a network, grow word-of-mouth and earn clientele. It takes funds which are slow in coming so it is creeping along.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
We are slowly getting materials to finish remodeling our bathroom. It is badly needed, as there are tiles missing and covered with plastic. The house is very old so we are worried that by tearing tile down to put up the new stuff we might open a bucket of worms, as seems to be the case with everything we do here. It's all we can do though as moving is not an option. So while new faucet and other remodeling stuff seem to be non-essentials, in a sense it is necessary that we do this.

Saving more or less?
I don't know that we'll save anything in the next few months or for the rest of the year for that matter. We haven't had any health insurance since last September and the new insurance won't kick in until September. The new deductible will also kick in so anything extra will go for that. We both have health issues that should be looked into that we've put off.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Susan RileyMinneapolis, MN 55410
August Outlook? worrisome

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
looks tough right now-debt level higher that it has been. extra expenses such as crowns, vet bills, car in the shop for not -so minor- work

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
not eating out at all not buying anything that is not absolutely necessary shopping for food less and cleaning out the cabinets-using stuff up biking to work to save gas (1-2x per week ) and trying for 2 drive-less days every two weeks

Saving more or less?
cannot save any more than already being taken out for 403B-need to pay off debt
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Joel BlackfordMaplewood, MN 55119
August Outlook? bleak

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Worsen. We are watching our economy fade away.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
No non-essentials. All decisions are put off a year or two.

Saving more or less?
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Kristine HolmgrenSt. Paul, MN 55117
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Worsen. I lose my unemployment compensation in three weeks. I'm certain to worry - - but I've anticipated this, and have done everything possible to survive.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
I won't buy any "non-essentials." I have been busy buying cheaper home and auto insurance, lifting the deductibles and lowering the premiums.

Saving more or less?
Less. My income will diminish significantly.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Julie NelsonWinona, MN 55987
August Outlook? worrisome

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
It will not improve, probably worsen. I know I will be moving to Spain at the end of September, so I won't be getting any more money per month till then, and then I will be barely scraping by, while putting off my loans.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
I basically spend my money on local entertainment, like eating out or going to a concert or a movie. That's about it. I am putting off paying back my student loans just because I make so little money.

Saving more or less?
Probably more because I'll be working at the State Fair, but then I will be spending it right away when I move to Spain.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Tod ElkinsMinneapolis, MN 55414
August Outlook? worrisome

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
Improve. Weathering clients who have not paid their bills. New projects have come in with clients who have been fully vetted in regards to their ability to pay.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
All non-essentials are being put off. I had my bike stolen 2 years ago and I am still waiting for an improvement to the economy before purchasing a new bike.

Saving more or less?
I won't save, because I haven't had a full salary in over 2 years
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Evelyn LeeRamsey, MN 55303
August Outlook? worrisome

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
With parents' income dropping or parents losing their jobs, children tend to drop out of private instrumental lessons. This means less income for me.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
Renovation of the kitchen will have to wait

Saving more or less?
Less spending means more saving.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
Dennis FisherDayton, MN 55327
August Outlook? holding steady

Expect your situation to improve or worsen in September?
No idea. My company (Medtronic) is one of the companies being punished for providing health care. We're being punished via taxes and by government mandates on product pricing.

Buying any non-essentials? Putting off purchases?
any major decisions are being put off.

Saving more or less?
no changes.
http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/user/form_display.php?isPIJ=Y&form_code=7572e4aefdb3
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