Monday, July 13, 2009

Right on the Money: Making a Budget

Money is on the forefront of everyone's thoughts these days, and often celebrating is one of the hardest things to place a price tag on. Budgets however, are one of the most essential aspects of planning any event no matter how large or small.

Most people get overwhelmed with where to begin, but it's really very simple: start with a number. Sit down with the friends, company, in-laws or partner that are involved and come up with an exact amount you are willing to spend. What you are doing within the budget is flexible but this overall number should be something you agree to stick to. One of the best ways to keep this under control is to open a separate bank account just for these expenses. This way you are able to track them without having the party funds mingling with the mortgage payments and utility bills.

After coming up with the grand total you are wanting to spend then you need thoroughly visualize every single expense it will take to create your kick-ass party! This should be the party version of a grocery list. This list should be detailed, not just "Beer, Burgers, Birthday Cake..." it needs to include everything from your pre-party manicure to extra toilet paper to post-party cleanup, because those little costs add up.

To get you started on your list, here are a few categories and some examples of things that can fall into each:
1. Venue
- Location Fees
- Dinnerware
- Security
- Portable Restrooms

2. Food/Drink
- Caterer, Waitstaff (Plus Tips!)
- Delivery and Pick-Up
- Alcohol

3. Entertainment
- DJ
- Equipment
- iPod

4. Decor
- Indoor Lighting
- Tent
- Throw pillows
- Candles
- Flowers

5. Invitations
- Postage Costs
- Stationary
- Thank-You Notes
- Printing

6. Miscellaneous
- Beauty Items
- Transportation
- Insurance and Permits
- Tips and Gifts

This list just hits the high points of a standard budget but is a good place to get started. Once you have your mac-daddy list you can start to examine what items are the most important to you and in what areas you will be able to save money. Be honest with yourself in the beginning and things will go much more smooth as the planning gets underway. Get started here whether you have a budget big or small and remember you are always lucky to have a reason to celebrate! I have more budget tips to come!

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