When I look back at my software buying history of the past five or so years, it is clear almost immediately that I did not really buy many products in that time.
The main reason for that is that there are lots of free programs available for Windows -- and other desktop operating systems -- that provide me with the functionality I require.
In fact, there are types of software where commercial programs are non-existent. Think of web browsers for instance and let me know if you can name a single commercial browser.
While free software provides me with the functionality I require most of the time, it is not always the case.
If you think about security software for instance, you may come to the conclusion that commercial software is the way to go.
While there are free antivirus solutions available, commercial programs usually ship with better functionality and on top of that, may remove annoyances that are part of the free version.
You can replicate some of the features with free software, and sometimes that is all you require.
When it comes to buying software licenses, it is highly suggested that you research before you make a purchase.
The main reason for this is that you can save -- sometimes a lot of -- money when you do so. To give you one example.
If you visit the Malwarebytes website to purchase the premium version of the security program, you get to choose between a one and two year subscription for $29.99 and $49.99 respectively. That's quiet a bit of money for a product that will expire after that time and revert back to a regular version unless you renew the subscription.
If you research the program, you may eventually come upon the offer on Downloadcrew where you get a lifetime license for $34 currently.
That's just $5 more than what you would pay for a one year subscription on the official Malwarebytes website but for a lifetime license which means that you can use the program on a single PC without having to renew the subscription on a yearly basis.
Another example: Office 365 Personal is available for $59.99 on the Microsoft Office website. The offer gets you a one-year subscription to the service.
If you head over to Amazon, you get the same subscription for $45.49 currently, a saving of about 25% over the regular price.
Office 365 is discounted regularly but you have to remember that those discounts are only valid for the first year and that you will have to pay the full subscription price to renew the product.
Please note that I have no experience with Direct2Play and cannot say anything about the legitimacy of the offer.
The very same is true for online services as well. If you are looking for a VPN for instance, you may get a better deal on deals sites than subscribing to a service directly on the company website.
Researching software offers
So how would you go about finding software discounts? The first stop should be to the developer's website to get a price baseline.
Once done, you may want to start running a couple of searches (replace program with the name of the software you are interested in).
If it is a major product, you may also head over to retail sites like Amazon or Newegg directly to see if they have it on sale or at a discount at the time.
Your research may come up empty at times, either because the software or service is not discounted at the time, or it is never discounted.
There is little that you can do about the latter, but if the purchase is not a pressing matter, it may make sense to wait a couple of days or weeks before you run the search for discounts again.
Software programs like Price Pirates may assist you in the research as well.
Now You: have you bought software in the past?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.