Director of Financial Aid encourages budgeting


In a time of credit cards and consumer culture, budgeting and keeping track of one’s money remains a fundamental basic that many students use today.

Carolyn Halgerson, director of Financial Aid at SDSU, believes the topic of budgeting one’s money to be of the utmost importance.

“I’ve got a huge interest in that area because of what I do,” Halgerson said. “If I could speak to every student on campus about that topic, it would make me feel great…”

When Halgerson presents to classes about the importance of managing money, she focuses primarily on keeping track of spending, writing down expenses and managing between needs and wants. Halgerson also uses a spending personality quiz for students to recognize their spending habits.

The three personalities represented in the quiz range from a spender for enjoyment purposes, a spender on things that impact one’s friends or family and a saver.

As Halgerson herself budgets, she realizes the importance of knowing where her money is going. Although there are now apps to manage your budget, Halgerson still sticks to a pen and paper tactic.

“I’ve tried many different techniques and what works best for me is to keep it with me all the time…,” Halgerson said. “It doesn’t matter how you do it, it’s just terribly, terribly important that you do it.”

Jessica Richters, a sophomore animal science business and production major, believes that budgeting is important so you can keep track of your spending, but doesn’t find the need for it at the moment.

“I don’t go shopping that much, so really I just spend my money on food,” Richters said. “I base everything off of important things.”

Junior dietetics major Dianna Olson also believes budgeting is important, and like Richters and most other college students, spends the majority of her money on food and groceries.

“I think [budgeting] is a great thing,” Olson said. “I try to budget, but I don’t have a set budget…I just never get around to it.”

Aside from keeping a budget, Halgerson encourages students to establish emergency funds.

“I think that it’s important to have even if you maybe don’t have a lot of funds, to put a few dollars in an envelope or a coin jar, so that you’ve got a little bit of a cushion,” Halgerson said. Halgerson believes the emergency fund to be an integral part of budgeting because it allows for a peace of mind when a real emergency arises.

“If a student’s having difficulty at making ends meet, come over and talk to one of our counselors,” Halgerson said. “That’s what we’re here for—to kind of navigate that path. The financial aid programs aren’t keeping up … sometimes we haven’t utilized everything that we can for a student… If nothing else, maybe we can provide a little moral support. We’re more than happy to do that.”

Below is the financial personality quiz Halgerson uses in her presentations for freshman classes. Feel free to take the quiz and find out what kind of spender you are.