Event budget planner for tracking expenses, revenues and more

Manage all your event budget details with our online budget planner tool and prebuilt event budget templates

White Laptop

The event budget planner is included in the Planning Pod software suite


Venue Management Software

Perfect for event centers, hotels, restaurants, corporate facilities, non-profit venues and reception halls.

Learn more

Event Management Software

Perfect for corporate events, meetings, weddings, galas, fundraisers, educational events and more.

Learn more

"Keeps things like costs and payments organized and in one place for everyone. I especially love the budgeting and timeline tools."
- Gretchen Culver, Rocket Science Events

Gretchen Culver, Rocket Science Events

4.89 out of 5 stars

See why more event professionals and venues rely on our tools to build their businesses!

See All Reviews

Always know where your event budget stands with our timesaving budgeting tool

Track unlimited expenses and payments

Build out line items for all expenditures and assign them to categories for easy tracking. Track estimated, negotiated and actual costs for a more detailed picture. Add payments as well as payment due dates with reminders, vendor/staff assignments and notes.

Add revenues and view projections

Have a revenue-generating event? Create line items for each of your revenue streams (tickets, exhibitors, sponsors, merchandise, etc.) and then track estimated and actual revenues against your expenses for accurate budget forecasts and breakeven assessments.

Collaborate easily with staff and clients

Share budget details with staff, vendors, suppliers and clients via our Web-based event budgeting software tool so everyone can see budgets in real-time. Or download your budget data into spreadsheets that are compatible with Excel and Google Sheets.

Use our templates (or build your own)

Every account comes with pre-built event budget templates for meetings/conferences, seminars, banquets, fundraisers, parties, weddings and more. You can modify these or build your own event budget templates that you can use over and over again.

A better solution than spreadsheets

Not only does our event budget calculator do everything a spreadsheet can do, it also integrates with our other event management tools so you can 1) assign vendors and staff to line items, 2) set email and text reminders for payments due and 3) make bulk updates to multiple items.

Budget Totals

FYI ... If you’re interested in our event budget planner, you may also like our: Attendee List ManagerEvent Timeline BuilderInvoicing & Payments ManagerProposal BuilderTo-Do/Task Manager


What’s inside our Web-based event budget planner

Discover why more event professionals use our event budget calculator to manage budgets for meetings, conferences, conventions, seminars, fundraisers, galas, parties, weddings and more.

Unlimited Line Items

Create line items for every event expense and source of revenue, complete with estimated, negotiated and actual costs plus notes and assignments.

Categories and Subtotals

Put your line items into categories so you can manage them more easily and view subtotals for each category.

Budget Templates

Use prebuilt event budget templates (with standard line items and categories) for meetings, conferences, fundraisers, parties, weddings, more. Or build your own.

Totals and Projections

Up-to-the-minute budget totals let you know if you are under- or over-budget and whether you are in the black or the red with regard to net profit/loss.

Expense Tracking

Track any kind of event expense, including venue bookings, catering, marketing, travel, entertainment fees, staff wages, A/V rentals, printing, decor and more.

Revenue Tracking

Manage any event income you bring in, including online ticket sales, sponsorships, exhibitor and vendor fees, merchandise sales, donations and food-and-beverage sales.

Vendor/Staff Assignments

Assign vendors to line items for easy identification of who is supplying each item and who you need to pay. Assign one or more team members as line item managers.

Payments and Reminders

Add unlimited payments against line items and view total payments and balances remaining. Set payment due dates and email/text reminders for your team.

Headcounts / Item Counts

Great for line items that are calculated by headcounts or item counts (like catering or merchandise). Add both estimated and actual headcounts/item counts.

Downloadable Reports

Easily download printable PDF or .csv files of your budgets that you can open into Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Great for sharing with stakeholders.

Easy To Use and View

It’s simple to update expenses or revenues ... just click on an amount to edit it. Line items are expandable for detailed views and can be moved with a simple drag-and-drop.


Our cloud-based event budget planner can be used via the Web browser on any device - smartphones or tablets, desktops or laptops.

Learn more about our solutions for event planners and venues

Jeff Kear · Owner, Planning Pod

7 critical tips for managing an event budget

Whether your events are simple or complex, whatever kind of events you manage - from corporate events like meetings and conferences to social events like parties and weddings - you will probably be spending and/or taking in money to accomplish your event goals and create an amazing experience for your attendees.

In addition, you will probably have quite a few suppliers and vendors involved in helping you, most if not all of whom don’t work for free. And you may also have other stakeholders, team members and clients who are interested in how money is earmarked and spent as the event is being planned.

Hence the need for a comprehensive event budget that accurately lays out how much you have to spend, what you will spend it on and if you have income that will offset those expenses. In addition, creating an accurate event budget is critical in properly managing vendors, staff and other event personnel, so it's a step that should never be skipped.

Building an event budget need not be complicated, but there are a few key best practices to follow before you sit down with a spreadsheet or, better yet, an event budget planner tool to start putting numbers in columns. Here are some of the most important ones...

1. Establish event goals and spending priorities from the outset

It’s highly unlikely that you have a bottomless pit of funds to pull off your event, which means you need to make smart decisions about what to spend money on.

This starts first with looking at the overall goal of your event and determining what items are most important in achieving that goal and making the biggest impact on your audience. The items that can’t be cut without compromising the overall goals of the event are called signature expenses, and they could include food-and-beverage, entertainment, speaker and venue rental costs.

Once you have identified these key or signature expenses, you can then start to flesh out your other expenses and determine how much you can cut them, if necessary.

This planning work should give you your first thumbnail budget, which you can then use to establish the capital requirements for your event (which is the approximate amount of funds you will need to fully realize your vision). It’s at this time where you can brainstorm on where and how you will raise or acquire these funds, and this can lead to an exercise in how to manage your cash flow so you can stay current on all your bills and payments due.

2. Don’t start from scratch if you can help it

Often we are forced to build an event budget from a blank page, but this should be a last resort mainly because it’s very easy to forget an expense early on in the planning process and much harder to get sign-off on an overlooked expense down the road.

Using a budget from a previous event is a great starting point because it’s easy to modify and edit items based on a proven budget. If you don’t have an existing budget (or event budget template), the next best place to start is to collect quotes and input from suppliers, vendors and reliable industry peers who have in-depth knowledge of current event expenses.

HINT - Creating event budget templates is a great way to never start from scratch. Whether it’s a corporate event or conference budget template, a party or wedding budget template, you can use your previous work and research as a starting point for any new events you may plan. Simply put, creating event budget templates upfront can save you tons of time down the road.

3. Create a contingency fund for emergencies

If a career in event management prepares you for anything, it’s the unexpected. So you should be prepared for fluctuations in prices, order changes, cancellations from suppliers, budget cuts and hundreds of other possible scenarios that will affect your event budget and your ability to stay within it.

Because of these many uncertainties, it’s highly advisable to set aside a contingency fund (or rainy day fund) that can handle overages, incidentals and unforeseen emergencies. Rule of thumb says that this fund should be anywhere between 10% to 30% of your overall budget (with 20% being the average).

4. Build out forecasts and continually monitor items

This step is all about being forever diligent regarding your event budget because, if it starts to slide, both you and your event will suffer.

First, you should set a breakeven point, which is where costs and income perfectly offset each other. If your event is larger with many moving parts, you may want to create a few separate budgets with different scenarios of costs and revenues, some of which are more optimistic and others that are more conservative.

Next, you should look at when your payments are due to your suppliers and vendors and determine when you will need capital to make these payments. By putting these dates to a calendar, you can then plan your bill-paying and/or revenue-generating activities around these dates.

Many event budgeting software tools will provide access to comprehensive reporting (an advantage of such apps over event budget spreadsheets), including cash flow, income, and profit-and-loss reports. This will also allow you to pay close attention to your gross and net profit margins.

5. Simplify collaboration and sharing with your team

Most events have multiple individuals involved in planning the event and/or supplying services and goods for it, and many of these people will need access to the budget because they will either need to monitor it or make timely updates to it.

As such, it’s critical to be able to give these people the access they need, so either an online spreadsheet or Web-based event budget planner will give them the anytime, anywhere access they require.

HINT - One of the biggest stumbling blocks to staying on budget is not entering in updated information as things transpire. If a cost increases, if a payment is made, if a vendor is replaced, these need to be recorded immediately so your event budget is always up-to-date for your entire team.

6. Break down expenses and revenues into discrete line items

Sometimes event planners will divvy up an event budget into broad categories (say catering, venue, entertainment, etc.). Although this might be a good way to come up with an initial overall budget, it’s not a good way to manage an event budget moving forward for a few reasons:

  • More than one vendor might be supplying services inside a particular category.
  • Costs for items within a particular category may change or need to be adjusted/trimmed.
  • If certain items inside a category increase in cost, you won’t be able to narrow down the culprit easily.

As such, it’s always best to break items down as precisely as possible so you know exactly what each item, service or good costs. Here’s an example of some budget categories and the separate line items within each:

Audio Visual Expenses

  • Projector/Screen Rental
  • Lighting
  • Video Program/Production Fees
  • Speakers/Amplification
  • Microphones

Decor and Signage Expenses

  • Centerpieces
  • Event Signage/Directionals
  • Posters
  • Floral

Food and Beverage Expenses

  • Appetizers
  • Plated Dinner/Buffet
  • Cocktails/Bar
  • Coffee/Tea Service
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • Service Fees
  • Gratuities

Income Items

  • Ticket Sales
  • Exhibitors
  • Sponsorships
  • Donations

Marketing Expenses

  • Advertising
  • Direct Mail or Invitation Printing/Mailing
  • Website Fees
  • Program/Brochure Printing

Miscellaneous Expenses

  • Accounting/Legal
  • Insurance
  • Permits
  • Shipping
  • Storage
  • Taxes

Programming Expenses

  • Live Band/DJ Fees
  • Speaker Fees
  • Lodging for Performers
  • Travel for Performers

Staffing Expenses

  • On-Site Support Staff
  • Security Staff
  • Custodial/Electrical
  • Kitchen/Bar Staff
  • Food Servers

Venue and Rental Expenses

  • Venue Rental Fees
  • Linen Rentals
  • Table/Chair Rentals
  • Tent Rental
  • Parking Fees
  • WiFi Access

7. Identify how you will cut costs or boost revenues in advance

With event budgets shrinking and costs fluctuating, you may have to do lots of shifting of your initial budget allocations. This is why it’s not only important to identify your key/signature expenses upfront (as discussed earlier) but also to identify early on how you will address untimely budget cuts or additional expenses. This way you are prepared to take action quickly when such things hit.

There are many strategies and approaches for addressing event budget shortages, which can include:

  • Recruiting volunteers to replace paid staff.
  • Renting the venue at a bulk rate for multiple events.
  • Booking the venue on an off-peak season/day/time.
  • Adding more sponsorship opportunities (like marketing-related sponsorships of the event website, swag bag, etc.).
  • Trimming down on the catering order (like heavy apps instead of a plated dinner).
  • Going paperless ... use event apps, event websites and social media instead.
  • Finding a co-promoter with which you can cost-share.
  • Boosting your merchandise offerings ... and sales.
  • Switching from a free bar to a paid bar.
  • Offering a VIP registration option (or upgraded tickets for special perks) at an increased rate.
  • Always, always, always negotiate.

By following these best practices and using an event budget planner, you will have the tools and processes in place and be more prepared to address any scenario as you plan your events.

Learn more about our solutions for event planners and venues