What kind of rod should I get?
The rod I'd strongly suggest, and its WELL worth the extra cash. St. Criox premier 7'6" M/L extra-fast.
Its soft enough for panfish, and long, to aid in casting distance, great for perch and crappie and its length and soft action with decent backbone is workable for trout. These are the 2 species that are the hardest to find compatibility with your other targeted species. I've used mine for all kinds of bass fishing, it excels fishing finesse and jerkbaits, and smaller cranks, and its my primary rod for perch on Lake Michigan and because I utilize spoons and cranks, I catch a ton of trout on them as well, and I land almost every one.
I know its not what you asked for, but it really is the best rod for what you are looking for and maybe something to shoot for at Christmas or something. They do run about $100. I lent out my backup one and never got it back, otherwise I'd offer it to you really cheap, but its gone.
I know you mentioned brand-names, but with your limited budget, I'd encourage you to look at house-branded rods at whatever store you go to.
Since I work at Cabela's, I know those products; the Pro Guide series (IM7) retail for @ $45, the best-selling Tourney Trail (IM retail for $65-70, but are often on sale for 30-50% off.
I assume gander and bass Pro have comparable product lines, you typically get more bang for the buck on a house-branded product.