3 Easy Ways to Keep Any Event Budget on Track

It’s the one-time, I MUST have that expenses that kill any event budget. Every event needs a budget. It’s the golden nugget that keeps events together. It tells us what we can afford on a small or sometimes larger scale, yet sometimes we tend to want more than what we are allowed.


Creating a budget plan is the way to go for all event planners to stay on top of their budget. It’s not an easy task, but one that is an absolute must to keep your event calculated correctly, and stress-free.

First – Locate and Review Any and All Expenses

Review all areas of your event starting from the venue contract to speaker fees to entertainment and giveaways. Every single element 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.

Sometimes you will find yourself working with the same vendors over and over again, which can be super helpful having an understanding of how particular vendors require payments to be handled, and how your company or business prefers to manage payments with certain vendors.

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.

Second – Set Goals and Measure for ROI

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

If you’re preparing for a corporate conference and selling attendee passes, monitor how many attendees are registering from the moment you launch the registration page. Or, if you’re planning to have sponsors at your event, make sure you strategize creative and detailed packages for each sponsor during the planning process.

Will there be an upside on profit from sponsorship dollars? Be sure to 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.

If you find items being bought that were not discussed by the event team, or on the event master plan, bring those items to the attention of your team, and make sure 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.

Third – Make a G.I. Joe Plan of Action

Let’s face it – if you stay 100% within your budget as a lot of event planners do, then you have done an amazing job! However, there are sometimes spur of the moment items events may need, but consciously keep in mind your budget at all times.

It’s a great idea to have a small back-up budget as a go-to, must-have, hand in the piggy jar moment. This budget should only be used for absolute event emergencies. Make a list of what those emergencies could be, and hand it our to the event staff as well.

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.

In Conclusion

The event budget should be set from the very beginning of planning an event. Once your checklist is made, the budget should be created around it. Keep track of all expenses, and check-off once an item has been approved and completely paid for. 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 organized.

About The Author
Holly Barker
Holly Barker is a Digital Native with a passion to help shape events and brands through storytelling, creativity and digital magic. She has over 10 years of experience consisting of social media marketing, events and promotional management, digital marketing, and brand development. Follow Holly at @holsk.
Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

Plan awesome events & boost your career

How often should I update you?

Join over 11,000 subscribers that use EventMB to stay on top of How to's, Trends & Event Technology.