Each fall semester that begins I struggle with what is wise spending, where cheap is dumb and where extravagance is crazy.
I have seen groups and ministries spend some crazy amount for one event. I've seen ministries put on a third class event because they were trying to save a dime. I believe one of the toughest decisions we make is where and how much we spend at the beginning of the school year. Many years ago, I was talking with a friend who was in "THE fraternity" at a major university. I asked him how much they spent on their Rush/Recruitment to get 50 guys. I was blown away by the amount. It changed my thinking on how much I should budget/spend on the first few weeks of the fall.
But, I also believe in charging students for some things. It involves some commitment on their part. It teaches that life isn't always a free lunch. I've often told students on some things we can do "the 20 year loan plan". Most of them have paid it off at some point!
Often, I supplement the cost of things, but don't make it free. Oh, by the way, I believe you should pay your speakers as well as you can. Doing money in ministry is hard! Keep thinking and praying about it. Don't be cheap.....be wise!