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Pay down mortgage
Name: Nathan Payne, 34
Location: Anniston, Ala.
Profession: Operations manager at AMPRO Molding

His story: "People here in Alabama don't follow how the Dow is doing. Instead, they hear their neighbor was laid off, and they get afraid. They stop buying cars not because they have money in the market - they don't - but because that's what everyone else is talking about.

As a supplier in the automotive market, I can see the panic that has gripped people, and it's keeping people from buying.

Fear is driving the consumer, and that creates a domino effect: You don't buy; someone doesn't get to manufacture; so company has to downsize or lay off workers. The reluctant consumer gets even more afraid because they hear about the layoffs.

My wife and I don't have extravagant debt. So with the stimulus money maybe I'd pay off some principal in the mortgage. But my best guess is that we will use the $1,000 to pay off small debt, like a $60 charge on a Wal-Mart credit card. Eventually you start knocking out the larger debts. That helps the banks and the economy as a whole." - as told to Julianne Pepitone

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Last updated January 26 2009: 2:08 PM ET
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