Budgeting -> Costing

When planning a Family reunion, budgeting always comes before costing. You need to know what everyone in your family is willing to spend for a vacation or a reunion before you agree upon a location and it’s cost? Basically, you’re trying to find out what each individual family has budgeted to spend on a family vacation or reunion.

So, what’s the easiest way to do this without poking around in other’s business?

I would suggest the easiest way is to utilize the survey to ask the appropriate question. Visit the reunion planning survey page on this site to learn more.

For example, you may ask a question around the average amount they are willing to spend per night in hotel costs for their family. You could also ask them to estimate the total amount they would be willing to spend. For example: “If you knew that the average price per family member for a 3 night family reunion was $25 per person per night (including room, accommodation, and meals only), would you be willing pay more or less to attend.?” The answers choices may look something like this: 20-30% more, 5-10% more, No more or no less, 5-10% less, 20-30% less.

By collecting the appropriate information first before you even begin costing will save you tons of time and headaches.

I can’t emphasize how important budgeting is to making it enjoyable experience for everyone. Believe me, everyone in your family will see the equation of money-to-value in a very different way. Especially as many in your party are at different stages of life; some just graduating from school and are poor as dirt, while others are more established making very good money. You may even have some that are out of work, or struggling from certain hardship. Don’t let this discourage you. {Read, How to work through the issue of Families Struggling Financially to attend, written below}. It’s been my experience that you can still hold a very memorable family reunion on a limited budget. Remember, by placing a budget on your reunion, you will surely meet the needs for everyone and cause less stress.

What may the budget worksheet look like? Here is an example spreadsheet you can download to customize and use at your leisure – click to download

How to work through the issue of Families Struggling Financially to Attend?

Undoubtedly, you will have a pretty wide disparity in amounts of money families can spend to attend the reunion. Of course, this is natural as many family members are at different stages of careers, maybe one has lost a job because of the economy, maybe one has physical disabilities. Whatever the case, I’m here to assure you the family reunion can still go on with great success. Don’t let this discourage you!

So what can you do? Here are some ideas & tips to help you overcome the financial issues you may face:

-          Negotiate a group rate at the lodging of choice. Add together all costs for lodging, food, activities, pictures, etc. We’ve provided many wonderful tips on our travel page to help you get the best deal.

-          Once you have a total cost, then evenly divide this cost by the total attendees (only those that are 3 years and older). This will give you a cost per person. As the reunion planner, you would then anonymously ask those family members you know that are financially healthy to see if they would be willing to pay/carry a portion of the cost for another. You would be surprise at how many would be willing to pay $50-$100 more to be sure every member of the family attend. Once you have reallocated the individual costs then you communicate one-on-one via email with each family member their proportion they must pay.

-          Another great way to subsidize much of the cost is to establish a family reunion fund. Each year, our family holds a fundraiser and family auction  to increase the amount of money in our family savings. We then utilize this fund to subsidize many of the costs on travel, food, activities, and family photos.

Other ideas, please submit them to us through our idea sharing portal and we’ll be sure to post them for all to see.