Many people purchase a computer for $500-$1000 and think that’s where their expenditure stops. However, all you’ve really purchased is the hardware to run the software. With the possible exception of Mac based computer systems, which come loaded with plenty of good quality software programs eg. the iLife suite, Windows computers tend to come with very few useful software titles preloaded on them. This means that you may end up spending the same amount again – $500-1000 on software programs to run on your computer. Luckily, there are several ways you can reduce this outlay.Use free or open source softwareMany expensive software programs have free or open source equivalents. Probably the best example of this is OpenOffice, which aims to replace the functionality that you get from Microsoft Office. By using OpenOffice you could literally save $100s compared with buying Microsoft Office. OpenOffice has most of the features that you would need from an office suite e.g. word processor, spreadsheet, database and PowerPoint presentation creator. The only slight disadvantage compared to Microsoft Office, is that there is no dedicated customer support, although there is an active OpenOffice community that can help with most user queries.
If you do a search on Google you will find that there are many free alternatives to paid for software, from graphic programs such as GIMP, which has many of the functions of Photoshop, to web-based email such as Google GMail, which would replace the need to buy Microsoft Outlook. There are many software download sites such as CNET, which have huge databases of software that you can search for and download.Buy a software bundle.Buying software in bulk, especially when you have a new computer which needs filling with software, is an excellent way of making software savings. How it works is that a group of say 10 software developers, decide to offer their software at a massively reduced price for a limited time. This can mean you pick up software for 80-90% off the retail price. The idea has been especially successful on the Mac platform, with companies such as MacHeist and MacBundles having several software sales every year.Buy software onlineBuying software online has a two big plus points – cost savings and often instant download. Buying software from a retail store in a shopping mall tends to be expensive. This is because these ‘bricks and mortar’ shops have additional overheads such as premises and staff. Online retailers such as Amazon don’t have such large overheads, so are able to sell software at a considerable discount. Some online stores also let you download the software after purchasing it, which means you have the convenience of using your new software right away.
Use software coupon sitesBefore purchasing software online, do a search on Google for ‘your software+coupon’. You will find that there are a number of software coupons available if you search for them. These coupons can give you discounts on your software of between 10-70%. There are a few coupon sites that specialize in just software coupons, these sites can help as they have collated the latest software coupons in one place, to make discovery of new coupons easier.By following just one of the above tactics you could save yourself $100s on software for your new computer, which may mean you have money left over to buy other computer peripherals.