7 ways to save when organizing social events

You want an upcoming event to be a big success. The problem? You have a limited budget. Fortunately you don't need endless funds to create a memorable occasion. Just follow seven simple event-planning strategies to help you cut down on costs without sacrificing quality.

1. Plan early

By planning early you eliminate last-minute problems that can equal big costs. Depending on the size of an event you may need several months and up to a year for larger events. Start an event committee now.

2. Event budget planner

Knowing how much you can spend helps keep costs manageable. It also provides a baseline for negotiating if hiring outside vendors. Be upfront about what you're able to spend and look for package deals and nonprofit discounts.

3. Venue

If you can have the event onsite at your church or community center you'll save a ton. If that's not possible, look into renting nonprofit event centers or public parks, which can cost less. Mention you're a church and you may get a discount. Remember, keep the location close by to cut down on transportation costs.

4. Food and beverage

Unless you're hosting a culinary-themed event, food and beverage should complement, not be the focus. Depending on your volunteer base, you may have people who can donate supplies or their time for catering. Consider calling local grocery stores and asking about donations for the event in exchange for a sponsorship mention.

5. Décor

Dressing up an event to fit the theme can add up quickly. To reduce costs, utilize any decor you already have in storage and buy additional items you think you could repurpose in the future. For example, silk floral centerpieces can easily be used for other special occasions throughout the year. Your local dollar store is a great resource for creative decor supplies for less.

6. Event advertisement

Get the word out at no cost by utilizing social media, email newsletters and other electronic outreach mediums. Traditional methods such as the church bulletin and a mention in the events section of the local newspaper can also be effective and affordable.

7. Flexibility

It's exciting to have a specific vision, but you are bound to hit bumps in the road when planning any event. Be creative and change plans when necessary to save time, money and stress. You may need to prioritize the big things but bend on some of the smaller things. Flexibility is key.