How To Achieve Any Event On A Budget
This handy guide can assist you with any type of event whether it be a birthday celebration, corporate event, wedding, graduation party or even fundraising.
Events don’t have to break the bank to be amazing.
First things first, the thing about budgeting is every event is completely different. Some have a low budget and some want the best of everything.
It is up to you, the host/hosts, to ultimately decide on what you would like your overall budget to be. While keeping in mind that your budget does not have to be massive to achieve the perfect outcome you must be realistic on with our expectations if your budget is very low. However, whatever your budget may be this list sure will help get you more value for your dollar.
BIG TIP: It is best to prioritize what is most important to you or your event. Think of a top two to five services and/or products that will make your event perfect for you. These will be your “must haves” so when working out your budget place these alongside their pricing at the top of your list, then add in order of your preference most wanted/needed all the way down to “could do without”.
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#1. Less Guests = Less Cost
You do not need to invite everyone you have ever met to have a great event. More people mean more mouths to feed, more stuff to hire and more of everything. So, it’s a no-brainer that the less you invite the happier your pockets will feel. Also, stats show that events with fewer people are less stressful and more enjoyable (winning).
#2. Shop around for the bargains special offers and package deals
They are everywhere! Don’t settle on the first vendor you meet, get loads of quotes, check websites and Facebook pages for specials and giveaways. Attend expos and scoop up all the vouchers and fill out all the draws. Go for package deals to save you money and time.
Use what’s available before hiring. Some venues already come with tables, chairs, linens and dinnerware included in the cost. In some cases, they are free to use. Ask what’s included in your venue hire to avoid paying for something twice. Rather than paying extra for the blue chair covers or gold tablecloth just use the white or black included and add colour in the centrepieces or chair sashes instead. Remember, not all inclusions are worth it, although, make sure you are not paying for inclusions you do not want either.
#4. Cut down on catering
Food is one of the biggest expenses when it comes to an event and there are loads of ways to cut the cost without having Aunty Jan cater for you. Opt for a buffet or cocktail style. Guests actually love being able to select their own food and its cheaper. Instead of paying servers to walk around with platters and hors-d’oeuvres, set up stations for your guests to get it them self when they feel hungry. And don’t forget to ask for what you want on the platter. There is no point ordering a platter if you only like a few of the selections. Ask to replace the unwanted items for others you do like so that you are not paying for what you don’t eat.
#5. Plan in advance
Don’t be caught last minute with only the expensive choices left. Get in early and secure the best value for your dollar early while the choice are still there. Especially when it comes to hiring, the good affordable stuff always gets booked first.
#6. Get your haggle on
Negotiation is a key part of trying to save money on your event. And while you might think that big companies aren’t open to negotiations, you’d be surprised how many of them actually are. For example, if you are planning on booking out a lot of hotel rooms, they’ll be open to cutting you a deal on them. You’ll find that you’re able to negotiate at some level with everyone involved in the running of your event. It never hurts to ask the question. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone could say no then there’s no loss but you could get a yes saving you more money. It’s a risk versus reward perspective, it only makes sense to negotiate. (Just don’t insult a vendor by asking a price that’s way outside market value.)
#7. The little expenses add up big
Keep track of all expenses, including the very small ones because they all add up. The budgeting exercise in the planning process should give you a clear idea of what is needed for your event. The tighter the budget, the tighter you ought to be on your spending and make sure each one of the expenses is accounted for.
#8. The drinks
Save loads by just limiting the bar tab to just the basic beers, wines & soft drinks. Or, if you want to get fancy, ask your venue or bar supplier if they have any specials or cheap cocktails. Another way to save on drinks is to get a slushy machine. You get much more for less and these too can be alcoholic if you wish. Or there’s always the good old “bring your own” for backyard and hall events. If you want to be nice, just supply the cheaper drinks and the guests can bring anything else they may like.
#9. Use free tools
Although it’s not for everyone, in this day and age, you don’t have to pay for a newspaper ad or the side of a billboard to get noticed. You don’t even need fancy invitations that you have to send away. Ahead of the event, you can do most (if not all) of your promotion or inviting through social media and email marketing, without increasing your budget. Social media is also a great way to keep attendees engaged during the event as well as the lead-up. Engage them by asking for their feedback on various parts, and it won’t cost you a dime.
#10. The venue
You do not need to get the most expensive venue for the most luxurious looking event. A lot of venues can be used as a blank canvas and transformed completely for less. An old hall scrubs up well for a high school formal or wedding.
#11. Staff your event with volunteers, trainees and charity groups
Volunteers and trainees are a great way to add manpower to your event without adding cost or as little as possible. But be prepared to invest your time to properly train the staff. Plus, they need to have quick access to someone at the management level for questions or in case something goes wrong. Entice volunteers with perks or donate to the group’s charity in exchange for their work. Volunteers, trainees and charity groups are a better fit for some events than for others. If you need someone with a particular skillset like bartending, someone to look after valuables, or someone to run complicated technology or machinery, hiring a professional is the way to go.
#12. Add fun the affordable way
Rather than hiring the biggest inflatable jumping castle, have a look into the more affordable lawn games. You can even create your own games like I spy, surprise under the chair, the extra fun minute to win it type games. These are a huge hit and all are super fun.
#13. Save on the gifts
Less is more when it comes to goodie bags and guests favours at weddings. Haven’t you already given enough? But if you find it necessary to give, no one needs another ballpoint pen with a logo on it or another coaster. So think carefully about what you’ll send your guests home with. If you want to give gifts a general rule is things that serve a purpose do better than frivolous frills. Consider snacks to fuel attendees through a long meeting day or branded notebooks they can use during a conference just to name a few.
Remember: If it’s not something you’d be excited to get at an event, it’s not worth including at yours.
#14. Don’t cut the cake just have it differently
Cupcakes are a cheaper alternative in some cases. And if you are on a tight budget it might be worth adding artificial flowers instead of the handmade flowers or figures. These do take a lot of time and effort to make so, unfortunately, they are not cheap to have. But they are lovely though.
#15. Decoration and flowers
Opt for the budget-friendly decoration options. You can still have a beautiful setting on a budget by choosing the in-season, less expensive flowers and the less extravagant centrepieces. You can even try your creativity at DIY if you have the time and just get the decorators to help with the bigger stuff. In some instances when it comes to decoration and flowers less looks best.
Instead of hiring the best band around, how about giving a solo artist, a uni student or a DJ a go. When it comes to music you are paying for the number of members in the group as well as the “fan” factor. It’s all personal preference. Ask them all to send you samples of their work, and pick what you would like to listen to. You’d be surprised by some of these talented people. Also, it’s probably not best on your budget to look at hiring professional dancers and fire twirlers. Although they sure are entertaining.
#17. Photos and video
We really don’t recommend going cheap on these guys as this is after all your memory’s keepsakes and promotional evidence of your event. However, there are a few ways to cut costs. Purchase the digital copy’s and create your own albums is a good start. Only hire them for the time you need (just make sure you are on time) and as much as I hate to say it but if you’re really struggling with your budget there are always amateur photographers looking to get a start. However, I can not stress this enough. Please make sure you view a lot of samples and make sure you are 100% happy with them. Even ask if they can do a pre-trial shoot with you.
Your event will always be what you make it.
Take these ideas into consideration when planning your next event. Who knows just how much money you could save?