Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

Saving Money on Software

Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

Saving Money on Software

Article excerpt

Sure, computer software is less expensive than it used to be. But some of today's top packages can still cost as much as a week-long vacation. The standard version of Microsoft Office 97 can set you back US$450, and the professional version costs even more. Fortunately, for savvy shoppers, there are ways to save.

Comparison shopping. Even if you buy retail, look through the back of a computer magazine for ads from mail-order companies to gauge current pricing. Call two or three of the toll-free phone numbers listed since printed prices may have changed since the ad was created.

If you have Internet access, Web sites such as Computer Shopper's NetBuyer (www.netbuyer.com) automate the process of comparing prices of the same product from different vendors.

Used software. If you don't have a state-of-the-art computer, it may not make sense to pay top dollar for state-of-the-art software. You may not even be able to run the latest programs on your system.

The UsoX (www.midwinter.com/usox) is a classified ad Web site for Windows, Mac, and other platforms. Nearly 900 programs are currently listed. You can quickly search through the site's database for what you want.

Run any program you buy through a virus checker. The site warns you not to use it for piracy. If you make a copy of a program for yourself, don't try to sell the original.

Recycled Software (702-655-5666) of Las Vegas buys used software, inventories it, and marks it up before selling it. It's currently selling Microsoft Office Professional 4.3 for US$199. For your money, the service virus checks each program and ensures that all disks are included.

Most of its programs can be registered or upgraded. The company says it doesn't sell any software whose licensing agreement prohibits its resale or transfer.

Computer shows. These flea market-like events are held on weekends at race tracks, convention centers, and university campuses. Vendors range from regional distributors trying to clear out inventory to individual entrepreneurs. Check newspaper or magazine ads for shows near you.

Don't buy a "For evaluation only" version of a program - you won't be able to get support for it or a discount on future upgrades.

Shareware. These programs are meant to be shared so you can try before you buy. If you use a program regularly, you're asked to send the developer a registration fee, which is the equivalent of buying it. …

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