Creating your first event budget can be daunting and more than a little confusing. The event budget creates the structure and sets the stage for the event to either succeed or fail dismally.
Your event budget will not only guide you through the planning process, but will also ensure success. Below you’ll find 9 tips for setting up an event budget which you can reuse and plan from.
1. Create a Structure
Start your budget with a predefined template or if you are creating your own, a planned structure. Ensure that you have columns for: the different categories, line items, quantity, estimated and actual cost as well as deadlines or payment dates. For each category ensure that you have a total for the prices as well as an overall total at the end of the budget.
2. Determine Each Line Item
Be sure to write down each item on its own line. Don’t think you’ll remember something trivial and leave it out, leaving something out means that your budget will not be a true reflection of your costs and you might end up with a problem and overspending.
3. Don’t Bundle
Next, don’t group similar items together. Each item should be separately written down to ensure if changes are required, a specific item can be amended. This is also a really good way to ensure you remember to book and plan every single thing. You are welcome to create categories to group line items together, without compromising on the detail.
4. Use Descriptions
Make sure you describe each line item properly and accurately. Whenever you require approval from managers you wouldn’t want to explain every second line. Drawing up a detailed budget allows for transparency and completeness, which will go a long way in helping you keep track of what needs to happen.
5. Determine Quantities
Once all your line items are determined, start determining how much of each would be required. Knowing the true quantities required will ensure that your budget is a accurate as possible and will further allow for easy adjustments should they be required.
6. Estimated Costs
Using your defined quantities, start estimating the costs for each line item. Lots of research will be required, through getting in touch with vendors and suppliers as well as looking at budgets and costs for previous events. Don’t make assumptions if you are unsure of certain items. To ensure you have a full budget well in time for your event, get in touch with suppliers early as ‘comeback times’ might be lengthy. This will also help ensure that you do not get caught with your ‘pants down’ due to insufficient time to plan.
7. Write Down ALL Potential Costs
Be sure to think about everything and anything which can possibly incur costs. We tend to get so caught up in the big expenses that the smaller, not so obvious items go unnoticed and causes sleepless nights later on. Here are some of the lesser thought of items which you should consider:
- Transport cost
- Marketing cost
- Data and telephone costs
- Costs of planning
8. Keep Track of Actual Costs
As you start paying and booking rentals, entertainment and vendors, be sure to add these actual costs to your budget template. This will create visibility around where you need to start cutting costs, or which items were cheaper than planned, which can be saved or redirected to other items. This is also a great way to ensure you have a baseline for your next events.
9. Have a Contingency Plan
Be sure to have a backup. Don’t use all your allocated funds in your budget, but put aside a percentage of available budget in case of changes, cancellations or drastic weather changes.
You will be extremely relieved for either the extra savings or the availability of budget in case you really need it.