Here are some things I've discovered:
- My original search for a quote will always be the least expensive. For some reason, every time I shopped for the original item, the price had gone up! I just blame this on the time it took between writing the budget and spending the budget. So...
- I set aside 20% more than I think it will cost. That's meant to cover tax, shipping and markups that would otherwise render my original quote inaccurate.
- I try to find more of an average price when preparing a quote, rather than the cheapest price. This goes with #1 and #2.
- I make a list by type of cost or step of project, then I use a spreadsheet to break it down further. An example: "Coloring Book" broken down into Color Copies, Laminating, Binding, Paper, Art Supplies. And some can be broken down further: Sharpies, Crayons, Etc can be listed under "Art Supplies" This way, you are thinking through the exact materials necessary to accomplish what you set out to do, without coming out of pocket or having to fund raise for the difference.
- My budget always has a few costs that can be negotiated down. In other words, if I think I need 20 of something, I ask for 25.
Feel free to share your own tips and ideas in the comments below!