Easy Event Planning: How to Succeed in Budgeting (Without Really Trying)

CC Image by Tax Credits
CC Image by Tax Credits

TicketPeak’s Event Budget Template

Budgeting and easy event planning really do go hand in hand – if you don’t have a comprehensive budget in place we can almost guarantee you that the event planning process will most certainly not be easy. While we can’t say that budgeting can be accomplished without really trying, it can be a practically painless process if you set yourself up for success early on in the event planning stages.

As mentioned in our previous article, Easy Event Planning: The Do’s and Don’ts of Budgeting Basics, there are a number of different options available to create and track event budgets. Whether you opt for an event management software application or a simple Excel spreadsheet, the underlying key to successful budgeting is two-fold:

  1. Account for all event expenses.
  2. Stay up-to-date and organized.

In this article we will take a closer look at the necessary components to a successful, comprehensive budget. Easy event planning here we come!

Tracking the Important Information

Realistically, all of the information included in your budget is important and worth keeping track of. The budget isn’t just about the dollars and cents, it’s also about hired vendors, tracking payments, and knowing exactly what you are paying for (and when). In order to keep track of this information, we suggest the following core columns:

  • Item Title
  • Item Description/Details
  • Assigned Vendor
  • Budgeted/Projected Amount
  • Negotiated Amount
  • Actual Amount
  • Payment(s)
CC Image by Craig Moulding
CC Image by Craig Moulding

Common Budget Categories and Corresponding Line Items

Now that we have our core columns taken care of, it’s time to define budgeting categories and their common corresponding line items. While these items aren’t applicable to all events, they should give you a good starting point for creating your own event budget.

  • Venue expenses – Venue rental, parking, security, power
  • Audio/Video – AV equipment/rentals, internet access, microphones, screens and projectors
  • Rentals – Tables, chairs, table linens and chair covers, bars, stages, lighting, setup/teardown labor, delivery charges
  • Food and Beverage – Catering staff fees, all food and beverages
  • Furnishings – Drapes, carpets, other large furniture pieces
  • Décor – Floral arrangements, signage, table décor, room décor
  • Entertainment – Musicians, DJs, key-note speakers, masters-of-ceremonies
  • Printing – Invitations, programs, name badges, graphic designer fees
  • Marketing -Event website, advertising, email services, promotional products
  • Gifts -Door prizes, gift bags
  • Permits and Licenses
  • Shipping and Postage
  • Gratuities
  • Insurance
  • Legal Fees
  • Contingency*

*Last but not least – do budget a contingency fund. Things don’t always go as planned, so it’s smart to have a little bit of money set aside to save the day should something go awry. This usually accounts for 5-15% of the total budget, so plan accordingly!

CC Image by GrapeCity Inc.
CC Image by GrapeCity Inc.

And because we greatly appreciate our loyal readers and followers, we have a bonus goody for you! We’ve started a budgeting spreadsheet for you to help fast track the process – click and enjoy!

Ticket Peak Budget Template

Do you have a great budgeting tip for easy event planning? Please share it with us in the comments below.

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