3 Tips for Budgeting for an Event
Sometimes the hardest part of deciding whether or not you want to host an event is money. Sticking to a budget, affording to make it memorable, not overspending--all of these are things to consider when you decide to throw a party. But sticking to your budget doesn’t have to be difficult! All it takes is a little strategy.
Here are 3 simple and easy steps to budget for any party or event.
1. Create a Spreadsheet.
Create a basic budget spreadsheet with the following as the header of their own column: Category, Vendor, Item, Cost. This will be where you record spending--how much, where it was, what it was for and what category it falls under. If you want a more detailed budget spreadsheet download this one that we made for you. Just join the MOMENT MAKER Club below!
Create a second tab on this spreadsheet for brainstorming, which we will get to in a moment. You can create a function on your spreadsheet so that it automatically tallies up your spending so you know where you’re at in your budget at all times. Have one cell for what your budget is, one for what you’ve already spent, and another cell to show how much money is left in your budget--or how much you’re over. This ensures you’re always aware of numbers. Anytime you spend something for your event, you’ll want to immediately put it in your spreadsheet so there aren’t any surprises down the road.
2. Decide what your budget will be.
You might be surprised that this isn’t first. But usually deciding on a budget requires some thought and finagling--so you have to create the spreadsheet first so that you can arrive at a final number.
Back to deciding on a budget: to make an informed decision, you’ll want to write things down as you go. So, open up your newly created budget spreadsheet and navigate to the second tab where you’ll be doing your brainstorming. Have paper and a pen handy for things that might not fit into the spreadsheet.
First, break your event down into type; decide whether you’ll serve a full meal or just snacks, determine whether there will be party favors or an activity at the event, etc. Once you’ve established the answers to those questions, begin by estimating the cost of each of those things. This is where the spreadsheet comes in handy.
In the first column of categories, enter categories for each item: food, decor, entertainment, etc. In the second column write down the items you’ll need that correspond with their category, estimate cost for each of these items and record those in the corresponding cell.
The first step to estimating cost is knowing how many people you plan to invite. For example, most caterers give a “per person” quote. If you’re inviting 100 people and your caterer says $10/head, you know you need to plan on at least $1000 into your food budget. Don’t forget tip--20% is customary. So now you’re at $1200 for food.
After you’ve jotted down estimates for each category of your event, add it all up and write down the total. (Again, your spreadsheet can do the math for you! Just select function: sum and select the beginning and ending cells and it’ll add it all up.) If it’s higher than you want, you know you’re going to have to cut some things out and/or negotiate with vendors.
Now that you’ve written down all the details of your event and estimated cost for each detail, arrive at a final budget. Whether your budget is $50, $500 or even $5000, it’s still important to stick to your budget and not overspend.
3. Make sure all planners and hosts are aware of your budget!
One of the things that makes it hard to stick to a budget is when too many people are planning, spending and buying. Keep everyone accountable and aware of the running totals--share all involved parties on your budgeting spreadsheet. Make sure they are all entering their spending and totals as they go.
One smart move would be to assign a mini-budget to each person. Then you’re breaking down your big budget into smaller budgets and making sure each spender sticks to their section of the budget. That makes keeping track of everything a lot easier. Your helpers might even want to create their own tab on the spreadsheet as well, so they're keeping track of their spending the same way that you are. Then at the end of the day, you can easily add their totals into your main budget to know what the spending status is.
Budgeting for an event is the part that can create the most stress on a person and the most tension between involved planners. But it doesn’t have to be that way! As long as everyone communicates, you can avoid conflict. The key is tracking, tracking, tracking. Always track every single penny as soon as you spend it. When you set up your spreadsheet to give you a running total, you and the other party planners will always be fully aware of how much is left in the budget. This ensures everyone is accountable, informed and prevents accidental overspending. Look at you, being responsible! Dave Ramsey would be proud.
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