Age: 71 Workplace: North Metro TV

Barbara "Barbie" Samuelson used to help her husband run a TV repair shop. But the business closed.

Two years ago, she was hired as a part-time receptionist and host of a cable show ("Wednesdays with Barbie'') on North Metro TV in Blaine. She made $274 every two weeks. But after budget cuts, she's down to 15 hours a week and takes home about $215 a paycheck.

"It's better than no job," she said, adding that she's determined to keep a positive attitude.

But she struggles with prescription drug costs for her ailing husband, who is 83 and too sick to work. Her own diabetes and asthma keep the household's medical costs high.

"I will have to be very, very diligent and careful about how I spend," she said. The couple recently moved to a senior apartment in Circle Pines that's cheaper than their former home. The savings help, but aren't enough.

So Samuelson is also buying cheaper food and plans to sell her husband's car to save on the insurance. And she'll keep working.

"If I can keep working until I am 74, that is a heck of a lot longer than I ever dreamed I would," she said.