Make your list
Look at the installed programs in your computer and start by deleting any application you’ve used in the past, but don’t need anymore. Now write down the programs that you are using. If you have two or more applications of the same type write down only your favorite. Underline the ones that are not free.
Now you have a general view of all the software you have, both free and paid.
Search for alternatives
For each paid program you have installed, search for free alternatives. You might find it hard to choose one so to ease up the process, read some reviews and study the features and drawbacks of each program. This might seem complicated, but it’s actually not. Any good application has been reviewed at least a few times on well-known websites. If you can’t find any reviews for a program it means it’s not trustworthy or it’s very new.
A good review should include the program’s features and issues/bugs (if any), some screenshots with the UI and system requirements (so you can be sure it works on your computer).
When free is not enough
If for example you need a powerful image editing application and the free ones you’ve tried are just not enough in terms of functionality it’s OK to say no to freeware and buy the application you need. The same goes for the cases when you have a paid program but can’t find a viable alternative at all.
Other than that, when you do find a free app to replace a paid one do not hesitate to do so. Even replacing 5 programs can save you a great deal of money. Some programs even have a yearly license renewal (in that case you’ll be saving even more money).
Where to find free applications
Finding free applications shouldn’t be a problem. There are numerous websites that offer free software downloads and even the trial versions of paid applications, all legally of course. A simple search on the Internet will reveal dozens of them. Just be careful to download the original setup file, as some websites wrap applications in their own installers, which also include toolbars, search engines and other third-party applications.
When you finish analyzing your software list, and made the possible replacements sum up the license costs of the commercial apps you are not using anymore to see how much money you managed to save.
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