When on a project, I pay little attention to budget. I find the best location for the project that story wise I would choose. I am naturally a cheap person and go for the best product for the money.
Does this mean I go over budget? Almost never. I have found that some of the best locations are free. They just take more work and payment of other factors such as police, park help, security etc that most location managers feel is a ton of extra work.
I love stage days like everyone else, but if everyday was a stage day you wouldn't need a location manager would ya?
For example, on the feature I'm managing right now we had the producers scout before i came on. The location they found was 40 minutes to an hour away from camp at a cost of 2500 a day plus 600 for 10 hours of police work.
The location was expensive for what it was with strict rules and constant supervision. I scouted a location literally 5 minutes away that was a mile and a half stretch of public road which was all wooded area with no houses. I booked the location for 7 days for 1750. No police needed because its on county park property. GIVE ME A BONUS! Win win for production and the county. You can't get away with this everywhere but in this situation we saved money and found an ideal location that looked ten times better than the $2500 a day location...
Moral of the story, bring in the locations manager early! Indy films always wait till the last minute to save money and it ends up costing more money for trying to handle everything themselves...