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What to Put in a Budget - open

By Caterine - open for editing

Before you begin, I suggest you read the page Budgeting 101, as this should give you a good overview of the kind of thing we're looking for in an event budget. There are examples from a number of different types of events, all of which have successfully made it through Council.

Following everything outlined here is not a guarantee that the financial information you have given will be approved by the Reeve and Council. Ultimately, even if you have followed everything set out here, the Council may decide that your event is not financially viable and decline to approve it. Or, the financial information might be fine but there may be another reason for declining a bid (which they will tell you).

More commonly, you may need to answer questions or make tweaks to your figures to bring it up to an acceptable standard - but this is normal practice as it helps put everyone on the same page and produce a financially viable event.

Below I'm going to break down item by item some of the most common things that you might include as part of an event budget. This is not an exhaustive, unchanging list - nor is it stuff that you'll need to include for every event! As I have mentioned elsewhere, please always Apply Brain To Task, and assess whether an item is a needed part of your budget. For example, if you're running a day-long rapier workshop, you may well need to budget for buying toilet paper - but you probably won't need to include a cost for candles or lamp oil

You will also want to read the page How to Find Your Break Even Figure, as this will help you break down your costs to a per person amount.

Site Hire

This is one that most events will have.

If there is no cost for the site, this will usually show up in a bid as a standalone sentence (i.e. "there is no cost for the site" or "the site is free"). Some people still like to include a line for this in their budget with a total of $0 showing. It's up to you.

Sites have different ways of charging you, which you will need to pay attention to a little bit. Some will charge you a fee per hour, others a flat rate for the time. Some (especially camping sites) may have a per head charge, and may also additionally have a booking fee. This is where having a column in your spreadsheet to give a description of what the charge is can be particularly helpful.

Taking a couple of lines from my budget for the Baronial Devest/Invest, we have the charges for Camp Sladdin:


Item Description Cost Division Per Person Per 30
Booking Fee

Flat Rate

@ $12 $12/30 $0.40 $12.00
Camp Cost Per Person on top of booking fee @ $8.50/head   $8.50 $2

As you can see, there were two charges for using this site. One was a straight booking fee, payable once. The other was a supplementary per person charge.

One thing to be aware of with Site Hire is that you will usually have to pay a bond - Council will be happy to pay this once they have approved your booking, but will want to know how much it is (and that it's not an unreasonable amount!), and (if possible) when and how we will get it back - some places will pay the full amount back, others will ask that you deduct the deposit from the total remaining to be paid.


As you are no doubt aware, petrol these days costs rather a lot. We don't like our stewards to end up paying for event costs themselves, so it's entirely reasonable to allow some money for transport of Baronial equipment from the Quartermaster's house to the event site, and back again.

The IRD website (May 2013) allows 77c per kilometre as the cost of to a self-employed person using their vehicle for business. Google maps (or another navigation tool) can give you an estimate of the distance between two addresses, by road.

If you can, it's helpful to fill your car with petrol immediately before picking up gear, and immediately after returning it, as you would with a rental car, so you have a receipt for the petrol that was used over the course of the event. That's not always practical, however, so not a requirement.

Another type of transport cost you might like to consider, depending on the type of event you're running, is hiring a trailer or a vehicle (either to transport people, or equipment) for the event. For larger events, and for stewards with small cars, this can be a good option.

Remember, with any type of large item such as vehicle/equipment hire, it's important to provide as accurate a figure as possible for what you think it will cost. The easiest way to do this is to look up several places that offer this service, and get quotes for how much it would cost for whatever it is you will need for whatever length of time you need it. Base your estimate on the average of the quotes, or (assuming you've got quotes from three places) the middle-priced one. Never base an estimate on the lowest possible price - it's an estimate, and you usually can't guarantee that you're going to get the lowest price, or a special deal, so you shouldn't budget on it.

Kingdom Levy

This is $1 per adult (18 and over).

It applies to all events, unless they are ungarbed (so not really events), or free.

Event Membership

This is $2 per adult. It applies to all events, unless they are ungarbed (so not really events), or free.

It's required of adults who are not already financial members of SCANZ or one of its affiliates (e.g. SCA Australia or SCA US).

Food - Ordinary Meals

Depending on the type of event, you might want to include breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning tea, or afternoon tea.

These are standard amounts (May 2013):

$3 per head for breakfast (consisting of porridge with milk, cream and brown sugar, fresh/stewed/tinned fruit, toast with spreads, tea/coffee/milo).

$5 per head for a cooked breakfast (add bacon and/or eggs to that above)

$6 per head for lunch

$8 per head for dinner

$1.50-$2 per head for morning or afternoon tea (note - not tried since 2011)

To make sure the numbers are up to date, check the budget and final report for a recent event or two, and see that the amounts budgeted were in fact suitable.

Food - Feast

In the four years leading up to 2013, Ildhafn has budgeted between $14 and $20 per adult for food at a feast.

Food - Set Up Crew Lunch

$40 will cover a made-up lunch for 10-20 people. For this, you should be able to make filled rolls, and also give everyone a piece of fruit, some biscuits/cake/slice, and some chocolate. Or pies and soft-drinks for 5-ish.

For longer events, your set-up crew may miss a meal, and it's nice to provide one for them.


If you're planning an event where you're able to have a fire outside, you will need to budget for firewood (unless you've already confirmed a free and plentiful source). Check out costs at the same time as you're working out how to get it to site, and have a plan for what is going to happen to any unused excess.

St Catherine's in 2012 was able to acquire 1m3 of firewood, delivered to Camp Sladdin, for $100.

Miscellaneous/Sundry Costs

The following items can all fall under this category in a budget, although you will of course need to name them in your description of what this line is. Or you can just add each item as a separate line.

Often, there will be a stash of some or all of this stuff in the appropriately-labeled Quartermaster's boxes - however, you're best to plan on needing to restock these items, which means budgeting for them.


Are you using candles or oil lamps at the event? Chances are you're going to need to purchase more of either candles or oil, so it's a good idea to budget this in advance. $1 per head is usually plenty. Candles cost about $5-6 per pack of 10-12, and 2L of salad oil will set you back about the same.

Cleaning Products

You are almost certainly bound to need to replace some of these. Bleach, cream cleanser, spray 'n' wipe, cleaning cloths, rubber gloves, disposable latex gloves, dishwashing liquid, hand soap, etc. Check the inventory in the quartermaster stocks, replace what you need to, update it after the event.

Rubbish Disposal

You will need bags and/or bins for rubbish management during the event. There may be sufficient stored by the quartermaster. You may wish to make alternative arrangements for recyclables.

You will also need a plan and a budget for disposing of waste after the event (e.g. St Caths 2012 took about $20 in pre-paid council rubbish bags).

Toilet Paper

"Have you thought about toilet paper?" is perhaps an uncommon question, but a necessary one for event organisation and budgeting. Check with the quartermaster, then buy more if necessary.


You will need some for the bathroom and some for the kitchen. As with all of this, check supplies with the quartermaster.

Dish washing liquid

You will need to make sure that this is available by the sinks where everybody is washing their personal dishes, where the event dishes are being washed, and in the kitchen (if these are separate areas).

A long event like St Caths will go through several containers of dishwashing liquid.

Kitchen Consumables

Soap, hand sanitiser and dish washing liquid as mentioned above. Also snaplock bags of varying sizes and plastic containers (ice cream containers or takeaway containers) for storing leftovers. You may not need to buy containers as there are some amongst the general equipment; you could also consider emailing the list and asking people if they have spare containers available that you can use if it's a large event to avoid adding an extra expense.


If you've had a feast, you'll have a bunch of dirty tablecloths and table runners. Either budget for washing them yourself, which is a total pain because of the size of them, or budget $40-60 for taking them to a laundromat where they will wash, dry, and fold these for you. You may also want to get event tea towels washed and dried while you're at it, but as there tend to be a lot of them you may not want to pay for these all to be folded.

Back to Information for Stewards.