These days, new software can be incredibly expensive. But while many software producers will try to find ways to get as much money from you as they possibly can, there are numerous ways you can save money and still get the highest quality software available. If you’re willing to put in the research necessary, being an informed consumer can really pay off. Here are 10 ways you can easily acquire discount software at the best prices:
1. Understand your Licensing Agreement
Licensing agreements can be rather confusing at first glance, but they still contain a lot of important information, nevertheless. If you want to save money on software, then you’ll need to know what, exactly, you are paying for. This information is usually very specifically laid out within your licensing agreement, and by reading it all of the way through and knowing what you’re paying for, you can find a number of ways to save big.
2. Use Coupon Codes
One of the reasons software outlets are so willing to give out coupon codes is because most individuals choose not to use them and end up paying full-price. But if you are willing to put in the effort to find coupons, rebates, and other savings opportunities, these initially high prices can be substantially diminished. Rebates and coupons—though a hassle at times—are some of the most immediate ways you can get the cheapest software available online.
3. Check for Free Shipping
For those looking to buy cheap software —or anything online, for that matter—one of the costs that can be most easily avoided are the shipping costs. Often times, shipping is incorporated in the costs of online goods not as a material necessity, but as a negotiation mechanism that can be later retracted. You may be surprised how willing your software outlet will give you free shipping. After all, as a customer, you represent 50% of the parties in the transaction.
4. Opt for the Student Version when Possible
Applying to get the student version of software is one of the easiest—and still legal—methods available for getting the lowest price on software you can. If you have a .edu email address, if you have some form of student identification, or if you are willing to simply check a box that says “student”, these discounts are often easily within reach.
5. Pay for an Upgrade Instead of Buying Something New
Often, software companies will try to create the illusion that you need to buy new software. But—on the contrary—you very rarely actually need to buy new software, and instead, you can replace these high costs with the much lower cost of paying for upgrades.
6. Pay for Only What You Need
One of the reasons many individuals have a particularly difficult time finding cheap software online is that many offers they find are packaged deals that force them to pay for much more than is necessary. By listing everything you need before you look for what is available, you will be less likely to be baited into paying for a large software package that you only really need a fraction of.
7. Buy from the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
This is a common piece of advice that applies to more than just software deals; cutting out the middle-man and contacting the original manufacturer directly is one of the surest ways to save big on software costs. OEM software is cheaper because it avoids the markups of traditional outlets, and often times, the OEM is even better informed than a general retailer.
8. Take the Time to do your Research
The reason why a lot of people are paying too much for software is that they aren’t willing to put in the time and effort to find the discounts they need. Typically, software companies will have you paying as much as possible for their products, but the reason these prices are so high is because they know you have no other alternative. But don’t be fooled—if you are willing to investigate exactly what you are buying, exactly what you are paying for, and exactly where you can cut costs, you can easily drive down prices through nothing other than your own sweat and effort.
9. Comparison Shop Using Specific Details
Most discount software dealers do, in fact, want your business, and because of this, you’ll find they can be surprisingly flexible. A lot of customers use the vague threat “I’ll take my business elsewhere”, but without anything to back this up, it is unlikely that the dealers themselves are likely to change. However, if you can use comparison shopping to show that you actually know where you can specifically get a better deal, then you are much more likely to get the kind of response you are looking for. When comparison shopping, look at every detail of the software you hope to acquire—even if the comparison prices are not cheaper overall, you can still point to specific features that are cheaper and claim them to be the market price. This, in essence, is how you can demonstrate you are informed consumer who demands lower prices.
10. Use the Leverage you have as a Buyer
Every discount software store has one thing in common: they need customers. Because, as a customer, you are unavoidably needed, it is important to realize that you are the lifeblood of the company itself. From a business perspective, as long as the software dealer is making any sort of profit, then—on the margin—it would make more sense to gain your business than to lose it. Because of this, it makes sense to try to argue down the price as much as you possibly can, and always leverage it with the threat of walking away. By being confident, polite, and well-informed, and you can indeed get the software you want at the price you want.