I long for the day I’m able to say that. But that day isn’t today. It’s not tomorrow either. To be honest, I’m not sure when it will be so, in the meantime, I’ve had to learn how to make (and keep) an event budget with money to spare.
It’s not always easy curbing your wants to fit in with what your bank account says your pockets have to spend, but it’s certainly doable. Budgeting requires you to be realistic, honest and diligent about your spending.
I have 10 tips for keeping a budget that I use in planning in every SoBe event. Some are pretty self-explanatory but others are tips you’d never think to implement and can end up saving you an additional $50 to $1,000! So put on your adult breeches and get ready to say “NO” to a lot of the things you don’t really need and “YES” to staying within budget and maybe coming in with money to spare! The first 5 tips are listed below; the second 5 will be listed in Part Two of this post!
Pro Tip #1: Create Your Budget with a Maximum & Optimal Amount
Your budget planning process starts with understanding what you can afford. First decide on a maximum budget amount that you cannot possibly exceed. Then select an amount you wish to stay at. You should plan according to the lesser amount but the maximum amount gives some cushion for emergencies or items you wish to splurge on. For example, your income may not allow you to exceed a budget of $8,000 but you’d like to come in at $5,000. You have a $3,00 cushion for emergencies or to purchase that ice sculpture!
Pro Tip #2: Stick To Your Budget
Your budget isn’t meant to change. Once you’ve selected your maximum and optimal budget amounts, stick to them! You shouldn’t need to change or add to your budget as you’ve accounted for any additional items with your cushion. If you start stretching your budget to exceed what you’ve already decided on, you will find yourself adding things you cannot afford and breaking the bank.
Pro Tip #3: Shop Around
After you’ve created your budget and you’ve made a solemn swear to stick to it, begin to shop around to price the items you want for your event. Be sure to obtain at least three different quotes for the same items, particularly large or expensive ones. Doing your due diligence during this phase will help you find the best price and stay within your means.
Pro Tip #4: Differentiate between Wants and NEEDS
This is a BIGGIE. Let’s imagine your dinner table design is pretty classic and modern: gold chargers, white plates with gold trim and wine glasses with gold handles. But do you really need the plates or wine glasses trimmed in gold to achieve the look you’re after? Or will the standard white plates and glasses ones work just as well?
So often, especially in event design, we get hung up on details, which is usually a good thing when you have money (and time) to spare. But when those suckers are $5-10 more expensive than standard settings, you’re looking at hundreds of dollars more just on rentals! That’s a no go. Be realistic and able to differentiate wants from needs. If you don’t absolutely NEED an items to achieve your look, scrap them.
Pro Tip #5: Don’t Forget the Incidentals
In one of my very first events, I planned the budget down to the last cent — or so I thought. I shopped around, found the best prices and even eliminated items I thought we could do without. I forgot one integral part of the budget process — including incidentals in the prices and it cost me! Tax, gratuity, shipping, delivery and service fees should be included in your budget and can be gathered when you shop around. Forgetting this important step can cost you hundreds of dollars!
A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it!
Your budget will only work for you if you MAKE it! So let’s start budgeting EFFECTIVELY!
Be sure to check back in with SoBe for our last 5 tips for making and keeping your budget!