By Jody Long Last minute expenses, wanting to impress your customers and guests; your event budget can get out of hand much quicker than you thought. First things first: If you’ve held this same event before, look at your budget sheet from last year and compare. Where could you make changes? Here are six ways that can help you to stay on track with your event budget. 1. Know your event. Is it a large gala, or a small gathering? This will determine your budget, and what you should and shouldn’t have. For example, you don’t want a 5-piece band playing at an event meant for a wedding or ball, if you’re only gathering 10 – 15 people together for a business meeting. Going overboard on these types of expenses can ruin your budget very quickly. 2. Know your event. It bears repeating, but for a different reason. You must choose your location wisely, and this depends on what type of event your holding. Keep your location costs low by doing your research on event sites. 3. Keep track of every expense. It cannot be stressed enough just how much the little things add up. Whether you made a last minute purchase of pens for all 400 guests, or you added in another screen rental, everything will play into your budget. Use an excel spreadsheet or other budgeting tool to help you see where you are with every penny. Don’t forget about your miscellaneous expenses, those that seem to just appear on your final bill out of nowhere. For example: services fees, taxes, rental fees, etc. 4. Keep track of your income, if you have any. Perhaps you charge for certain vendor representatives to attend your event. Give them a deadline to get their money in to you, and keep track of who has and hasn’t paid. This will give you an idea of where you stand with your budget, in terms of when you need to pay your event bills. Again, use a budgeting tool for this. 5. Be the only one in charge. Expenses can add up when there are too many “cooks in the kitchen”. If you’re not the only one in charge of spending, someone else is bound to make a purchase or decision that can throw your budget off track very easily. 6. Be flexible. Even though you’ve created a budget and are determined to stickto it, being flexible is also important. Don’t say no to something to add to the event last minute if you know it’s important, just because it doesn’t fit into the budget. When creating your budget, make room for flexibility.