Hand typing on a calculator that says "Budget"

Planning an event is undeniably an exciting time for any event producer. However, without proper management, the rush and exhilaration can quickly turn into stress. One of the most important aspects of event planning is creating an effective budget. No matter the size or complexity of your event, planning out an event budget that is strategic and aligns with your objectives is an essential step in creating an incredible experience that runs smoothly. To help you plan your event, here are 8 useful tips to navigate around all of your event budget expenses.


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1. Create Clear Objectives

The first step of planning doesn’t have to involve spending money at all. Setting yourself up for success starts with a vision and creating clear goals for yourself and your event. This will help you to allocate resources effectively and determine what is most essential for your event. Think about your audience and the resources needed to create an event that they want to attend, then build your objectives around that. 

2. Write Out a Detailed Budgeting Spreadsheet

Organization is key when budgeting. It’s important to know where your money is going and how it is being spent. This can look different for different people depending on your organization style, but most people tend to follow a budgeting spreadsheet. This should include all anticipated expenses and revenue sources, even down to the smallest details to ensure accuracy. Categorize expenses into different areas that are applicable for your event, such as venue, marketing, food, staff, entertainment, technology, and miscellaneous items. Which of these are considered a top priority for you? This will help guide your decisions for what is necessary within your event budget and what is not.


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3. Do Thorough Research

With a laundry list of expenses that seemingly never stop piling up, it can be tempting just to sign with any vendors to get it over with. However, it's generally good practice to shop around when estimating quotes from vendors, and event planning is no exception. Never accept the very first estimate that you receive. Collect quotes from multiple suppliers and vendors to ensure you're getting the best deal when it comes to prices. Then compare those prices, negotiate contracts if needed, and don't hesitate to ask for discounts or explore alternative options. Taking the time to be diligent in your research beforehand can lead to significant savings later.

4. Look at Past and Similar Events

One of the best tips to plan out your event budget is going by experience. Once you’ve taken the leap to host your first event, it makes it much easier to get a feel for expenses and what areas may need more attention than others. When looking back on past data, you'll want to consider the type of event (in-person, online, or hybrid), the location of the event, number of attendees, and that event’s actual budget. Then, it’ll become more clear to see where you can improve your budget. If you’re planning on hosting your first event, it’s worth reaching out to other industry professionals and picking their brain for advice. Find people local to your area by going to similar events, or engage in online communities through Facebook groups designed for event producers


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5. Expect the Unexpected

The events industry is extremely fast-paced, and not everything goes to plan 100 percent of the time. It shouldn't be a surprise that unexpected costs are bound to arise during the event planning process, so it’s important to plan ahead. Set aside a contingency fund to account for any unforeseen expenses or emergencies. It's recommended to allocate around 15 to 20 percent of your overall budget for contingencies, depending on the scale and complexity of the event.

6. Make Adjustments As You Go

Following the last point, it’s important to be flexible with your budget. Make adjustments as needed as you go on. Regularly review the actual costs and compare them to your projected expenses. This will allow you to identify any discrepancies or areas where you may need to adjust your spending to stay within budget. Being on top of effective expense tracking ensures that you are making the most informed decisions for your event, even when unexpected costs arise.


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7. Make the Most of Sponsorships and Partnerships

Sponsorships and partnerships are a hidden weapon that can significantly alleviate the financial burden of hosting an event. Find companies or organizations that align with your event's theme and target audience. Propose mutually beneficial partnerships that can provide financial support, in-kind contributions, or assistance with promotion. Collaborating with sponsors can also enhance the overall attendee experience, as they may get access to resources that weren’t available before. We've got the rundown of how to find sponsors in our recent blog here

8. Keep Learning to Grow

Even after your event is complete, the learning doesn’t stop there. Take the time to continue evaluating your budgeting process to refine financial performance. Identify areas where you can improve efficiency, reduce costs, or enhance revenue streams. Learn from your past experiences, then implement those key lessons learned and continually refine your budgeting skills for your future events.


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Final Thoughts

While budgeting in event management typically isn’t a favorite task for event producers, it’s essential that you understand your finances. Creating a solid budget not only is an incredible tool that will help you stay on track, but it will also help you reduce unnecessary expenses in the future. With these tips in mind, you'll be well-equipped to produce incredible events while keeping your finances in check. 


While you’re planning your event, don’t forget about ticketing! Passage is always 100% free for events. Sign up for a demo with our team to see just how easy it is to set up.

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