Hello BCU students!
I am Amir Iqbal, your VP for Opportunities and Community. I recently graduated from Accounting and Finance and I had been an accounting student for over four years before joining BCU.
One would assume that when I joined the University I had the right financial knowledge to manage my money and to live the student experience without going bankrupt, but it wasn’t like that. Even though my family supported me in my difficult times, I used to go over my spending line and ended up in my overdraft several times. This often resulted in paying back high interest rates to my bank.
This continuous financial struggle drove me in the most challenging phase of my life. I was struggling to find a part-time job and didn’t have many streams of income. It was affecting my academic performance and social life. I often used to struggle to meet my friends regularly and hang out with them at the Eagle & Ball!
There are so many lessons I learnt during that time that I want to share with you. I don’t want anyone to go through something that is avoidable and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes that I made back then.
The biggest lesson I learnt was how important it is to budget your money in advance.
In the National Student Money Survey, nearly 80% of students have revealed that they wish they had better financial knowledge before coming to university. I am definitely one of them! I understand that with everything we have to do on a regular basis such as attending lectures, dealing with assignments and attending society meetings, budgeting might not be seen as a priority.
However, there are loads of benefits to tracking and controlling your spending. Creating and staying to a budget is an important part of growing up and being more independent. Whether you're trying to save up for a big spend like a summer holiday or a new video games console, or you just want to be prepared for emergencies (we're talking broken laptops and smashed phone screens), a strong budget is exactly what you need.
I understand budgeting is not cup of a tea for everyone, if needed you can contact BCU’s Student Affairs department. They are a team of advisers specialising in supporting students with all things money related. This includes areas such as the Hardship Fund, money management advice, dealing with debt and student finance funding.
Moreover, myself and your Elected Officers have set up a series of budgeting sessions where you can get involved. The budgeting session will include information about budgeting and managing your money at university, what financial support is provided at BCU and the breakdown of how you repay your fees.
I never thought that budgeting could be such a life saver for me, but since I have started using the spreadsheet to budget I have been much more successful at managing my resources.
The last thing I would like to say is that everything in place in order to help you manage your resources and become money smart. If someone like me who messed up so many times with my money is now able to achieve my goals and save for bigger things then why can’t you?