The economy doesn’t seem to be revovering any time soon – and church budgets are tighter than ever. Here are 6 ideas to help get the most out of every buck your church entrusts to you (if you’re fortunate enough to even have a budget):

Break-even Events – when you plan an event, make out a realistic budget and set a goal for how many students will attend. Some simple division and boom – you have the price point. Now stick to your budget and you won’t have to spend a dime beyond everyone’s admission. Obviously you’ll want to make sure the event is priced fairly, so do your best to balance the “bang for the buck” factor and still break even.

Why the Simply Youth Ministry Conference?

Cut back on programming – a great way to stretch your budget is simply to hack away at what eats up chunks of budget in the first place. What are you doing that is ineffective and is taking dollars away from what is working? Would now be the right time to kill the program and redirect those funds to the right place? Use budget choices as a great excuse to let a sacred cow starve to death.

Think Free First – the internet has made so many things free at your fingertips. You can get free texting, free polls, free Bible software, and so much more, at the click of the mouse! Before you buy, see if you can get it somewhere else for free.

Develop a Resource Team – these are the people in your church who don’t necessarily have the time to serve at youth group or go to camp as a counselor but they do have access to the stuff you might need. Develop a short list of resourceful or inventive people you can call on when you’re looking for random items like coolers or snow chains.

Double Dip – if you do have to buy something, think long term about how you can use an item again down the road. Are there other ministries in the church who can split the cost with you? If you do “share” this item, be sure to offer to store it when it isn’t being used so you have easy and primary access when needed.

Why the Simply Youth Ministry Conference?

Never Pay Full Price – Planning ahead allows you to order online from the least expensive reputable retailer. You might be able to get that video camera even cheaper/slightly used on eBay or Craig’s List, a quick search and you’re all set with a deal far better than the retailer down the street. And if you prefer to buy from a physical store, be sure to comparison shop and take the best price you’ve found on an item to your favorite store….they will likely match the price.

Those are a few of our thoughts on stretching your budget. For more great tips check out Lars Rood’s book “Youth Ministry on A Shoestring”.

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