If you’re planning an event, you’ll need to keep a close eye on costs before they blow out.
Using an Event Budget Template pre-filled with all the categories you’ll ever need when planning your event finances, budgeting expert Ana reveals how to get your finances in order using a pro-level Google Sheets template.
The index below will take you to our Google Sheets how-to video on Vimeo. If you want to read the transcript, it’s right below.
- Download the Template
- Exploring the Template
- Your Itemised Budget
- How to Deal With Variations
- Track Your Final Costs
- Review at a Glance – the Budget Summary
- BONUS Features to Make You a Budgeting Star
- BONUS #1 – Percentage of Final Costs
- BONUS #2 – Variance to Budget
- BONUS #3 – Spent to Date
- Conclusion and Event Resources
Video TranscriptionHi there, my name’s Ana and I’m so glad you’ve joining me for this walk-through of a great new tool for event planners everywhere, the Event Budget Template.
Today we’re using the Google Sheets version, but if you’re more of a Microsoft Excel person, just click this link which will take you straight to the Excel video.
Ok, so let’s get started!
First, I will show you how to choose which of our two templates you want to use, then I’ll show you how to get the most out of it’s pretty cool baked-in budgeting features.
If you want to skip to a particular topic, you can always click the link to your preferred topic in the description below.How to use an Event Budget Template with some pretty cool baked-in budgeting features. #event #budget #template Click To Tweet
Download the Template
Downloading the Sheets template is easy, and it’s free. Just click the link on your screen which will take you to this page.
Enter your first name, then your email address, and click Download Now. Ok, so we have two options for the Sheets templates here, one for Small Events and one for Large.
Now, I’m going to use the Small Event Template, but you can download the Large Event Template and follow along, it will just have more options.
Click on the Small Event Template, and you’ll be asked if you’d like to make a copy of the Small Event Budget Template. Click Make a Copy, and now you have the template in your own Google sheets collection.
So here’s a hint – if you’re not sure which template to use just yet, well, download both, and follow along with the Small Event Template for now. And if you discover you need more options, you can pull out the Large Event Template whenever you need it!
Exploring the Template
So let’s take a look inside!
You’ll see that it opens on the Itemised Budget – this is the only place you’ll ever need to enter your figures and event details.
Your Itemised Budget
Let’s say we’re having an end-of-year Gala Dinner, and it will be at the International Convention Centre in ICC Sydney, on the 12th of December. We’re expecting around 250 people.
Now, if you click on the Budget Summary tab, everything we just entered has been automagically updated in the Budget Summary. This summary is going to come in mighty handy, but more on that later. Let’s go back to the Itemised Budget.
Under the heading TASK, we have a list of categories like Venue, AV/Lighting & Staging, Catering, MC & Speaker, Entertainment, all the way down to Contingency.
The template is pre-loaded with just about every event expense imaginable, and if there’s not enough detail here, you can always try out the Large Event Budget Template! Either way, you’re not starting from scratch.
Now we can enter some budget amounts. We’re still in the early planning stages of our Gala Dinner, so we don’t know the exact costs, which is fine. This BUDGET column is a quick and easy way to allocate big chunks of your budget across all the categories that you know you’ll need.
Let’s say we have $40,000 to spend on our Gala Dinner. And we need to hire a venue, with food, drinks and some cool entertainment.
Under the BUDGET heading, we’ll enter $2,000 for the venue/room hire, in Catering we’ll enter $20,000 for the food, $10,000 for the drinks, and in entertainment allocate $3,000, and we’ll have a $5,000 contingency for any unexpected costs.
Ok, we can see how much we want to spend on each category. For example the Catering subtotal has updated to $30,000 which is the 20,000 food and 10,000 drinks costs combined.
Let’s go out to the market, get some quotes and lock in the costs.
There are a few venues we like, and we’ve secured a fabulous spot for a little over the budget at $2500 two and a half thousand dollars. Let’s enter this in the AGREED COST column, as it’s the final contract amount.
Food at the venue is in fact $22,000, so we enter that. And $10,000 for the drinks as expected.
Our entertainment came in under budget at $2,500, and they’re bringing their own AV equipment, so we don’t have any additional AV costs.
So the pre-filled formulas in the template have already calculated the overall total for the Agreed Cost for us, at $37,000.
How to Deal With Variations
You’ll find that even after costs have been finalised, variations can pop up that need to be accounted for. This is going to affect the overall event cost.
There’s a place to enter the variations that won’t mess up the entries you’ve already made. It’s in the VARIATIONS column here.
Let’s say we’re going to spend a little extra to decorate the room, $500, so we’ll enter that here. And we’re also going to hire a professional photographer at $2,500, so we’ll enter that here.
The subtotals for variations are automatically updated, and you can see here we now have $3,000 of additional costs.
Track Your Final Costs
The Final Costs automatically update, so you can see straight away what they are.
So here the total cost for venue hire has been automatically updated to $3000. And the Miscellaneous section shows a Final Cost of $2,500 for the photographer’s fees.
The OVERALL COST at the bottom here has been updated to show the revised amounts.
In this case, our Budget was $40,000, we signed contracts with suppliers for a total of $37,000, $3,000 in variations were approved, and the Final Cost of the event was $40,000.
Review at a Glance – The Budget Summary
Here’s a great feature that gives you a high-level view of your spend, your variances and your totals, all at a glance!
It’s a tool-within-a-tool, if you like. All the costs we’ve entered into the Itemised Budget here, are automatically entered into the Budget Summary dashboard here. So all we do to get there is click the tabs at the bottom here.
You’ll find yourself turning to this Budget Summary again and again in the lead-up to an event!
Now if we try to change any of the figures in this Summary, notice we get this handy heads-up that we’re trying to edit part of the sheet that shouldn’t be changed accidentally. That’s because there’s a whole lot of number-crunching going on behind the scenes here, and this section has been protected so we don’t accidentally delete any formulas.
But, if you ever want to make this spreadsheet your own, you can always do that! We can just click ok. But for now, I’m going to play it safe and click cancel.
BONUS Features to Make You a Budgeting Star
If you want to know more about what you planned to spend against what you actually spent, try out these extra budgeting features.
BONUS #1 – Percentage of Final Cost
Want to know what proportion was spent across each event element? Easy! Look at the PERCENTAGE OF FINAL COST column here. It’s all calculated for you automatically. In our Gala Dinner, the Catering costs were $32,000, which was 80% of the total spend.
BONUS #2 – Variance to Budget
Did you get the initial budget forecast right? How much did your final costs vary from the original Budget? Well, just look at the VARIANCE TO BUDGET, here. It has a handy traffic light system to highlight any elements that came in over budget, marked in red here, and any that came in under budget, marked in green.
So we can see we were $500 under budget for Entertainment costs. We went over our Budget for Venue ($1,000), Catering ($2,000) and Miscellaneous items ($2,500), shown in red.
Using all of our $5,000 Contingency, we ended up right on Budget. Not bad!
BONUS #3 – Spent to Date
(Large Event Template)
I’ve just opened up the Large Event Budget Template to show you an extra column called SPENT TO DATE, here. This is where you can enter invoice amounts against the tasks, and track your actual costs.
If you’re using the Large Event Budget Template and don’t want this feature, just select the column, right click on the mouse and Hide Column. Easy!
Conclusion and Event Resources
The Event Budget Template gives you confidence to know you’re totally across your budget at every stage of the planning process. And that it’s up-to-date.
It’s also great for keeping others in the loop, like your boss, the finance team and your colleagues.
And remember, the more you use it, the better you’ll become at predicting expenses for future events. Not to mention being even more strategic about HOW you spend the budget. How good is that?
Be sure to check out our other super-useful event planning tools – just click this link and I’ll take you there now.
Thanks for watching, I’m Ana, until next time!
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