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3 Simple Steps to Keep your Event Budget on Track

by Damien

All events must have a budget. It’s the glue that keeps everything together. It tells us what is affordable on a small or sometimes large scale, yet we tend to want more than we are allowed.
Having a budget plan is the most effective way for all event managers to stay on top of their budget. Keeping track of your budget is not an easy task, but one that is an absolute must to keep your event calculated and stress-free.

1) Review Your Expenses

Make sure you review all areas of your event, starting from the venue contract to speaker fees, entertainment and promotional activities. Every single aspect of your event requires a checklist to make sure it is accounted for, and also an understanding of how each item requires payment.

Keep track of all of the vendors you work with at each event. You will find yourself using and working with the same vendors over and over again. It can be extremely helpful to have an understanding of how particular vendors require payment to be handled.

Remember every vendor is different, so compiling a master list of every person you work with is a great idea to help keep track and manage your budget at the end of the event.

2) Set Goals and Measure ROI

Once you have an idea of what your budget should realistically be, plus a master list of all of your vendors and contacts. You need to take a step back and measure for ROI.

Account for all areas where you may break even or make a profit from your event. Setting goals in the beginning is very important. Keep track of what you’re spending on from the very beginning. Keep your budget sheet handy at all times, and updated daily to reinforce the event team to stay on budget.

Bring items that were not discussed on the event master plan to the attention of your team, making sure that the spend has a purpose. Going over budget is never a great feeling as an event planner, and having to account for items that were not needed and made the event go over budget will always fall back on the event manager.

3) Create a Plan of Action

If you manage to stay within budget, which a lot of event managers do, then you have done a fantastic job! However, there are sometimes unexpected purchases that your event will require.

It’s a good idea to have a small back up budget to go to in these instances. This budget should only be used for absolute emergencies. Make a general list of what the emergencies could be, allowing staff to understand what you classify as a justified emergency spend.

Creating checklists and event survival kits for event staff is a creative and useful way to keep everyone on point and in the know before, during, and after any event. This way, if a question comes up where someone on the team needs to make a judgment call on purchasing something not within the budget, they will know if they are making the right decision.


Your event budget should be decided from the very beginning of the event planning stage. Once your checklist is created, the budget should be created around it. Keep track of your expenses and document when each payment and the method it was paid. One little slip up, or add-on to the event budget can make or break the entire outcome of the event, so monitor throughout, and stay organised.