The Complete Guide to Event Planning on a Budget

The Complete Guide to Event Planning on a Budget


First and foremost, you need to know your costs before starting anything. The basics are laid out in the list below:


Rental Space

Security Deposit


Parking Passes



Types of meals to consider (steak, vegetarian, vegan)

Beverages and Alcohol

Bartending Fees

Labor Fees

Gratuity fees

Music and Audio


Microphone Rentals

Wifi Access

Specialty Equipment (speakers, set-ups)


Tables and chairs



Delivery and labor for setup and teardown







Party Favors







Travel time

Employees Compensation

Office Supplies



Know your budget before you start spending

Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to create a budget to be your guide along your event planning journey. Create a spreadsheet outlining all your costs, what you can spend on each item and add that to your total budget. This budget sheet is your guideline and negotiation points when discussing costs with each vendor. When your event has ended, you can return to your budget sheet and see if you exceeded your budget or not to help plan for expenses next year.

Go Digital

Going digital cuts down your costs substantially! Electronic ads, newsletters, registration, and e-blasts reduces your use of print and keeps you organized. You can even encourage your customers to participate in print-at-home tickets or using their smartphones to cut down costs on printing tickets for registration.

Start Planning Early

Give yourself enough time to search out the perfect venue, catering, , etc. to compare prices and get the best option for you! Booking anything early is the best way to save money! Most places offer an incentive to book soon such as “early bird discounts,” and by doing so, you’ll also have a wide selection to choose from with open availability before it’s too late.

Free Marketing Tools

Because we are such a digital world, there are so many free options online to start marketing your event. Social media scheduling, real-time analytics, websites, pop up tools, survey generations, email marketing, newsletters, blogging and so much more. Here is a list of favorite marketing tools that are entirely free brought to you by Buffer .

Volunteers & Interns Are Your New BBFs!

There are plenty of people out there looking for experience, to grow their resume or community service by working volunteer events. I can almost guarantee you won't have a problem finding volunteers to help out with registration, or internships looking for marketing and event planning experience. Give college credit, references or free passes to your event, and you won’t have a problem finding extra hands to help out.

Get a Sponsor

SponsorMyEvent and are just a few of the places you can post your event to get a sponsor to help with costs. Promise a few advertisements or promotions during the event, mention them on your website, registration or pass out fliers ... whatever it is, it's easy to get a sponsor and a quick way to minimize your spending.

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