• Shrink your event budget: lean on our top advice and save your money for bigger things.
  • Save money by bringing money in! Discover how to leverage sponsors, grants, and vendor partnerships.
  • Utilize amazing value on event planning tools: See an offer for event management software you can’t say no to!
  • Get good venues cheaper: Get inside secrets on how to pay under the asking price on venues.
  • Budget-friendly catering tips: Feed your guests well for less!

The world is getting more expensive every day. But that doesn’t mean that your event budget has to get out of hand. 

Today we’ll be breaking down how to save money on everything from catering to event software, and more. 

Dive in and make some savings on your event budget today!

Setting clear priorities for your event budget

Begin by defining your event’s goals and objectives, which will guide all subsequent financial decisions. 

For instance, if the primary goal is networking, allocate more budget towards spacious venues and interactive technologies. 

Here’s a step-by-step approach to ensure precision in your planning:

  1. Identify Key Elements: Determine what’s crucial for your event’s success. Is it the venue, guest speakers, or perhaps the catering? Prioritize these in your budget to ensure they are the best you can afford.
  2. Allocate Resources Wisely: Use a percentage-based method to divide your budget among different categories. For example, you might allocate 55% to venue and technology if hosting a hybrid event, ensuring both in-person and virtual attendees have a quality experience.
  3. Prepare for the Unexpected: Always include a contingency fund, approximately 10-20% of your total budget, to cover unforeseen costs. This proactive step helps mitigate risks without compromising the event’s quality.

If setting clear priorities seems intimidating, don’t fret. You can learn how to set the right goals for an event in this easy guide! 

The power of sponsorship, grants, and vendor partnerships for your event budget

Sponsor Footer Image For Event Budget
Sponsor Footer Image for event budget

In the world of event planning, securing sponsorship, grants, and vendor partnerships is crucial for creating budget-friendly and successful events. 

These resources not only provide financial support but also offer valuable opportunities for collaboration and exposure. Here’s why they are essential:

  • Sponsorship: By partnering with businesses or organizations, you can gain financial backing, in-kind contributions, and access to a wider audience. For example, a local restaurant may sponsor a community festival by providing food and beverages in exchange for brand visibility.
  • BONUS ADVICE – How to write an awesome event sponsorship proposal
  • Grants: Applying for grants from government agencies, foundations, or corporate entities can provide significant financial support for your event. For instance, a nonprofit organization hosting a charity gala may secure a grant from a philanthropic foundation to cover venue costs.
  • Vendor Partnerships: Collaborating with vendors such as caterers, decorators, and audio-visual providers can result in cost savings and enhanced services. For instance, negotiating a partnership with a local florist can lead to discounted floral arrangements for your event.

Maximize Sponsor Exposure: Highlight Your Sponsors using Sched from Sched Support on Vimeo.


Venue selection strategies for a cleaner event budget

Begin by initiating your venue search early, ideally eight months ahead of the event. This not only provides ample time to assess various options but also increases the likelihood of securing your preferred venue at a more competitive rate.

Evaluate venue features and services

When choosing a venue, consider the array of services and amenities it offers. Facilities such as on-site catering, audio-visual (AV) capabilities, and furniture like tables and chairs can significantly reduce the need to source these services externally, which often comes at a higher cost. 

Additionally, ensure the venue provides essential services like setup and cleanup crews, which can streamline operations and reduce staffing costs.

Consider location and accessibility

The venue’s location plays a crucial role in attendee turnout and satisfaction. Opt for venues that are easily accessible by public transportation and have ample parking. 

This convenience can greatly enhance the attendee experience and, in turn, the overall success of your event. 

Leverage flexibility for cost savings

Flexibility in your event date can lead to substantial savings. Venues often offer lower rates during off-peak times, which can dramatically reduce your venue costs. 

Additionally, explore venues that provide package deals incorporating multiple services. These packages can offer more value for money, simplifying the planning process while adhering to your budget constraints.

BONUS ADVICE – learn even more top tips for choosing an event venue here! 

Innovative decor on for a slim event budget

Fairy Light Decor To Lower Event Budget
Decor Event Budget Photo by Diego Carneiro on Unsplash

Exploring cost-effective decor options transforms event budgeting into an art form, allowing planners to create stunning environments without overspending. 

One effective strategy is to rent critical items such as furniture, lighting, and audio-visual equipment, which can significantly cut down costs compared to purchasing. Rental companies often offer a wide range of styles and configurations that cater to various event themes and sizes, ensuring both functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Another creative approach involves do-it-yourself (DIY) decorations. Engaging in DIY projects not only reduces expenses but also adds a unique, personal touch to the event. 

  • For example, Light Up Balloons and DIY balloon decor ideas serve as inexpensive yet visually striking options. 
  • Additionally, using items like Mason jars for centerpieces or photo booth props can be both fun and budget-friendly. These jars can be adorned with ribbons, paints, or filled with lights to match the event’s theme.
  • Moreover, leveraging items like White String Lights and Decorative Candle Lanterns can create an enchanting setting without the high costs associated with professional lighting solutions. 
  • String lights can be draped along pathways, tables, or around focal points to draw attention and create a magical feel. 
  • Candle lanterns, on the other hand, can be used as centerpieces or decorative accents throughout the venue, filled with candles, flowers, or colorful stones to complement the event’s color scheme. 

BONUS ADVICE – Discover the best hacks for mastering in-person events for even more awesome tips! 

Catering choices that save on your event budget

Catering Event Budget
Catering Event budget Photo by Saile Ilyas on Unsplash

Our favorite budget-friendly solution for catering goes back to sponsorship and vendor partnerships. If you can get a food business to supply your catering everyone wins. You get awesome food for your guests. The business gets good exposure and goodwill. 

However, if that’s not possible, utilize these tips that take care of your event budget. 

Optimize your event menu

  • Opting for brunch or breakfast items, which are generally more affordable, can make a significant difference. 
  • For example, serving a menu of eggs, pancakes, and fruit salads during a morning event can be both appealing and cost-effective. 
  • Additionally, consider the power of interactive food stations such as build-your-own taco bars or pasta stations with a variety of sauces.

Smart scheduling and service options

  • Hosting events during off-peak hours, such as mid-afternoon or late evening, can reduce the need for full meals, allowing you to serve lighter, less expensive fare. 
  • Furthermore, instead of a sit-down dinner, you can opt for a cocktail reception with butlered hors d’oeuvres, which are cost-effective and encourage mingling among guests. 
  • Selecting less expensive proteins like chicken or vegetarian dishes can also lower expenses without compromising on quality or quantity.

Leverage economical catering practices

  • Collaborating with other events at your venue to share resources like decor and catering can lead to significant savings. 
  • When it comes to alcohol, opting to pay by consumption rather than per person can keep your budget in check, especially if you anticipate moderate drinking. 
  • Utilizing smaller plates is a clever trick to reduce food intake while making the servings appear more generous. This approach not only cuts down on food costs but also enhances the presentation, making each dish look specially crafted for your guests.

Awesome event technology that is friendly to your event budget 

When it comes to budget-friendly event planning, Sched offers a comprehensive pricing solution that caters to the needs of event organizers and planners. Here’s why Sched is a great choice for event planning on a budget:

Unlimited access & participants

  • Sched’s pricing plans provide the freedom to plan unlimited events throughout the year, allowing you to host conferences, festivals, symposiums, meetings, and more without additional costs.
  • For smaller gatherings, Sched offers unlimited free participants, eliminating the need to worry about participant limitations for cost-effective event planning1.

Smart participant pricing

  • With Sched, you only pay for what you need, and you can earn an extra 20% off pre-paid participants, providing a flexible and cost-effective approach to managing event participants.

Exclusive loyalty discount

  • Existing Sched customers can claim their exclusive loyalty discount, providing additional cost savings and benefits for loyal users.

Special discounts & money-back guarantee

  • Sched offers special discounts for non-profits, educational organizations, and government entities, emphasizing its commitment to supporting organizations with vital missions2.
  • Additionally, Sched provides a no-risk 60-day money-back guarantee, ensuring that users can explore the platform with zero financial risk2.

Comprehensive event Management solution

  • Sched offers every solution needed to manage better events, including event website creation, event app access, reporting and analytics, call for papers, and AI features, making it a one-stop solution for event planners2.

Additional add-ons & upgrades

  • Sched provides various add-ons and upgrades, such as branded/native mobile apps and event services, to enhance the event planning and attendee experience3.

And if you need some more ammo for your argument, here’s some more: how to justify the costs of event planning software to your boss  

Engaging local talent and vendors

Here are actionable strategies to effectively incorporate local resources into your event planning:

Build strong local connections

  1. Identify potential partners: Start by researching local vendors and talent that align with your event’s theme and values. This might include caterers, decorators, entertainers, and technical support teams.
  2. Evaluate their Impact: Assess how these local entities can contribute to your event. For instance, a local caterer familiar with regional tastes can offer a menu that resonates more with attendees.
  3. Negotiate collaborative agreements: Approach potential partners with clear, mutually beneficial agreements. Many local vendors are open to negotiating terms, especially when they see long-term partnership opportunities.

Leverage local expertise for enhanced experience

Local professionals bring invaluable insights into the community’s preferences and logistical nuances, which can be pivotal for the success of your event.

  • Community insight: Utilize their understanding to tailor your event to local tastes and cultural norms.
  • Logistical advantages: Local vendors are likely to have established relationships within the community, potentially easing venue bookings and obtaining necessary permits.

Cost-effective resource utilization

Hiring locally can significantly reduce costs related to logistics, such as travel and accommodation for non-local staff, allowing you to allocate funds to other critical aspects of your event.

  • Reduce travel and accommodation costs: Save on airfare, hotels, and per diem expenses that you would otherwise incur with non-local hires.
  • Support the local economy: Investing in the local economy helps in building goodwill, which can translate into increased local attendance and support for your event.

The takeaways


We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to saving money on your event budget. We’ve shared practical tips on saving on essential costs, like venues and catering. 

But we’ve also shared how you can bring in money, through sponsors and the like.

And finally, you can start putting our advice into action right away by Starting Sched for free now! 

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Author: Harry Prince

Harry is responsible for content creation at Sched. From non-profit project development to cheffing, his experience is varied. Originaly from Scotland, he's currently writing from Amsterdam. Outside of telling stories about events, he likes cooking, old trains and running.