How to Save Hundreds of Dollars By Being Your Own Party DJ

by Travis Pizel · 6 comments

Every year, my family and I throw a huge party for about 120 of our closest friends and family get together—usually to celebrate the unofficial start to summer.

I fire up my smoker and grill, we set up a 200-foot water slide down the hill in our backyard that leads into the park, and everyone brings a side dish to share. Naturally, no party would be complete without music.

My wife and I have very differing views as to what is needed for our party music. As far as I’m concerned we could tune the radio to the hard rock station, put the volume on about 3 or 4 and let it roll.

My wife, on the other hand, wants the music to be more interactive. She wants our guests to be able to make requests, tailoring the music to the wants and needs of the party goers.

What’s the Real Cost of Hiring a DJ?

This year, she tossed around the idea of hiring a DJ.

After calling around to get quotes for different DJs in the area, we quickly found that they were quite expensive. Most DJs gave us a quote between $400 and $600 for our party.

One reason they’re so expensive is that they bring very expensive music and lighting equipment. Both of which are overkill for our party which takes place in our garage, with people spilling out into the backyard playing games and going down the water slide.

We decided to ditch the idea of having a DJ and just do the music ourselves. Except we plan to do things just a little differently.

  • Contact our guests through the party’s Facebook page asking for song ideas
  • Add our own song choices including current popular songs
  • Create an iTunes play list with the songs, purchasing those songs that we don’t already own
  • Connect the computer to our mini-stereo system
  • Hit “Play” on the playlist

become a djSave Hundreds as Your Own DJ

Not only does being your own party DJ essentially save you hundreds of dollars, you have more control over the music and the vibe of your party.

Additionally, setting up our playlist ahead of time has several advantages:

  • One Less Thing to Worry About: During previous parties, my wife was constantly changing stations or trying other means to find songs she liked to play. By having a base playlist built ahead of time of songs both we and our guests love, we can just let it play and enjoy the evening.
  • Flexibility: If we did want to add a song during the party, we could do so easily by purchasing it through iTunes and adding it to the playlist.
  • Cost: If we purchased 100 songs for about $1 a piece, the $100 we spent on music would be much cheaper than a DJ.
  • Ownership of Music: We now own a digital copy of any song that we purchased for future listening. So it’s not at all a waste of money.

By putting in a little effort ahead of time, we will have more control of the music for our party and saved ourselves hundreds of dollars.

How do you provide music for your guests during parties? Have you ever thought about putting together a playlist ahead of time?

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  • Erin says:

    We did this for our wedding. We hooked my iPod into the sound system at the reception hall and hit play on our two playlists (one for dinner, one for dancing). It was so easy. We asked our guests for requests ahead of time and picked the rest ourselves. It was free since we just made a playlist in our Google Play membership.

    • Travis says:

      Perfect, Erin…..exactly what we’re aiming for – glad to hear it worked out for you!

  • Seth says:

    Does your friend own an electric guitar? Hook your iPod up to the speaker. Voila, you got a basic sound system.

  • Jon @ Penny Thots says:

    We usually just throw on Pandora or iTunes radio. Pick a “hits” station or whatever fits the mood and let it ride. Of course, having a good sound system is key, but the music is free!

    • Travis says:

      That’s exactly what I would do, Jon….but my wife want’s the playlist much more specialized, and also wants the guests to be able to requests songs. So….thus the reason we had to come up with an alternate solution.

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