How to Create a Youth Project Budget

How to Create a Youth Project Budget

Creating a project budget may seem like a difficult task. When looking at The Peterson League grant guidelines, you may be thinking “Proposed budget? How do I do that?”

Maybe you’re not sure exactly how much materials cost, or maybe you’re worried the budget will change as you work through the project. When thinking about creating a budget, there may be a lot of worries going through a grant applicant’s head. That’s understandable, as the feat can sound overwhelming.

Creating a budget shouldn’t keep a young person from submitting a project proposal. At The Peterson League, we’re here to help with tips for creating a proposed budget to ensure youth projects are as successful as possible.


Budgeting Tips


The first step when creating a budget is to do research to find out what is needed to complete the project, where materials can be purchased, and how much they cost.

It’s important to do research to determine if materials make sense for the project and fit into the maximum grant amount for the specific age level.

You may have an idea of what you want to do, but upon research discover it is completely out of the budget. Research can also help come up with alternatives and identify steps you might forget.

Create a Budget Sheet

Before creating the budget, you need a way to organize it. This means creating a budget sheet that identifies each expense and how much it will cost.

The budget sheet should include columns for the expense name, cost per unit, # of units, and total cost. This sheet can be easily created using an Excel document.


A budget sheet helps you organize projected expenses. You can even add a column for actual expenses after the project is completed. This will reveal how well you budgeted initially.

Take it Step by Step

Making a proposed budget involves thinking through each step of the project and identifying what expenses are necessary to successfully complete it.

Think through every aspect of the project down to the smallest step. It may be useful to look at the action plan created after coming up with a good project idea to remember the steps needed.

Consider the Little Things

Will you need to send letters? Factor in the cost of printing, envelopes, and postage. Will you need nails to build that community garden? Add those to the budget.

The key to creating a good budget is to examine every possible expense, no matter how small. It’s easy to forget the little things that go into the project, but this could mean having to forgo part of the project, so pay attention to the details.


Stick to the Goal

It’s also easy to get off-track and add expenses to the budget that aren’t necessary to achieve the main goal. Again, keep that action plan handy for reference.

Sticking to that main project idea will help you create a budget that is within the total grant amount and ensure every step necessary is achieved.

Prepare for Change

The budget submitted is a proposed budget for a reason. The end expense breakdown will likely vary slightly from the proposed expense breakdown.

Be prepared to change around the budget a little. Maybe the exact material proposed is no longer available. Maybe the local hardware store closed down and you can no longer buy tools from there.

These things happen, but you should make sure to avoid adding unnecessary expenses to the budget during the project. Remember, stick to the project goal.


Although we want all aspects of the project, including budgeting, to be youth-led, it’s perfectly fine to ask an adult for help if you get stuck. That doesn’t mean an adult can write the entire budget.

The goal is to have youth think through the project in its entirety. Creating a budget and sticking to it helps develop problem-solving, leadership, and general life skills.

Hopefully these tips help you break down the scary “budget” idea and plan an awesome project!


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