What software do you pay for?


I’m asking out of curiosity.

In my own case, I pay for Office 365 annually, and in the last 5 years I’ve paid for a new version upgrade to Beyond Compare (which I use on both Windows and Linux), contributions to Ubuntu, Linux Mint, FSF, the GNU Octave program (and I get the UW-Madison Engineering Dept magazines to prove it), and The Document Foundation (LibreOffice). Out of laziness I’ve also bought internal password removers for PDFs and VBA projects in Office documents so I don’t have to keep using a hex editor and multiple file open-close operations. I also pay contributions for the odd browser add-in. I average about US$300 annually.

Comments (26)

26 responses to “What software do you pay for?”

  1. Jason Liao

    I have office 365 academic edition, 20$/year. But I spent most of my time in R and R studio, which are free. I in fact used them to clean a pretty complex dataset last week. I have bought $20 of apps from Microsoft Store but I only use one of them, Simply Text, regularly. I am a one-task guy.

    I keep my software titles to a minimum. I have only one browser, Microsoft Edge.

  2. jmeiii75

    I'll probably forget a few myself:

    Office 365


    Newton Mail

    Todoist Premium

    LastPass Premium

    Private Tunnel

    Object Desktop by Stardock


  3. seapea

    Pale Moon , IrFan , CloneSpy , xxcopy , PortableApps

  4. PhilipVasta

    I'll just list the big ones:


    Office 365 Home

    Office Business Essentials

    Xbox Live Gold

    Bitwig Studio

    Studio One

    Plugins from Waves, Native Instruments, and iZotope


    Affinity Designer

    Affinity Photo

  5. Patrick3D


    Windows 10 Pro (System Builder License)

    Office365 Home ($9.99 monthly)

    Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra (standalone license)

    dBpoweramp (standalone license)

    MakeMKV (standalone license)

    Games, games, games! (Steam, GoG, Origin)

  6. Simard57

    mostly services - does that count?

    Office 365 - for the OneDrive storage and Office suite.

    XBox Live Gold - and occasional game or two.

    about it!

  7. Fuller1754

    O365, Xbox Live Gold (okay, that's more of a service than software specifically), Spotify Premium, Pocket Casts and KWGT on Android. I paid for Nova launcher, but don't use it anymore. I was also happy to pay for outlook.com premium (not a fan of ads), but that's now included with O365, which is cool. Finally, I'm surprised this has gotten so little mention, but video games! I'm not a huge game buyer, but tend to buy one or two Xbox titles a year, though it's often long enough after release to get them for 30 bucks.

  8. Daekar

    Office 365, Spinrite, Games on Steam and Nintendo Switch, Paint.NET, Carbonite, Nine (Android), Arcus (Android), Pulse SMS (Android), OneSync (Android)... I'm sure there's more. Office 365 is by far the most important software I pay for.

  9. Paul Thurrott

    I won't be able to remember it all, I bet. I pay for a lot of software.

    Off the top of my head, I pay for Office 365 Home and Office 365 Business Premium. Adobe Photoshop Elements (roughly every other version). MarkdownPad Pro. Pocket Casts on iOS, Android, and web.

    Many services, too, of course. A couple of cord-cutting services like YouTube TV, Netflix, etc. A couple of music services (Google Play Music for me, Spotify for family). More. Many more, really.

    Coincidentally, I have an article-to-be gathering dust called "You Should Never Pay for an Office Suite" that may or may not ever see the light of day. The theory there is that most individuals have no reason to pay for something that is given away for free. (Though I do, and I'm sure many of you do too.)

    • offTheRecord

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      Yeah, in my comment I almost added that, although I paid (a dirt cheap $10) for Office Pro (via the Home User Program), with the possible exception of certain complicated spreadsheets, I can easily do everything I need to do "office-wise" using the free online Office apps and/or Google's free "office" apps -- and way more often than not, I do. Even the spreadsheet work is slowly being taken over by Python functionality.

      We also pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime (which, of course, includes ebooks, music and video), in addition to our VPN and Skype phone number.

  10. Bats

    I use Beyond Compare also, but I don't have the need to upgrade annually. Are the updates that big?

    I pay annually is Office 365, so I can take advantage of all 5 TB offering in Onedrive. I also pay for Photoshop CS/Lightroom. I also pay for a VPN service, NordVPN. Basically those are the only software I have intend to pay on frequent recurring basis.

  11. moruobai

    Office, Quicken, WinTV, Cyberlink Power DVD, Adobe Photoshop, Movavi Video Suite, MatLab, Daemon Tools, Alcohol 120%, Oculus, Acronis True Image, Rosetta Stone... too many games to list...

    Some older software I still use a lot: Microsoft FrontPage, Microsoft Encarta, Encyclopedia Britannica, Windows Media Center

    Some free software worth checking out IMO: 7-zip, LAN Messenger, KeePass

    I'm surprised more haven't mentioned Quicken. I know they get a bad rap for not making a lot of improvements YoY, but overall Quicken is pretty amazing software. New versions have your credit score, asset allocation using Morningstar X-ray, offline copies of your finances...

    • offTheRecord

      In reply to moruobai:

      For personal finance, Mint does for free most of what you're describing for Quicken. Ironically, Intuit used to be the owner of Quicken. At some point, they bought Mint and later sold Quicken to a private equity firm. Intuit still owns TurboTax and Quickbooks, along with Mint, but they no longer own Quicken.

      I used to use Microsoft Money and/or Quicken until they discontinued Money and Quicken started pushing out a confusing array of different versions and charging annual fees (and intentionally killing some existing functionality in older versions to force upgrades). Before Mint and after Quicken/Money, I was using a Mint-like service from Yodlee. The automated aggregation of different financial accounts was much more convenient and reliable, IMO. I recall Quicken always seemed to have trouble with one account or another on a regular basis. I got tired of constantly having to re-do account setup and data re-entry.

      • moruobai

        In reply to offTheRecord:

        Good summary. Yep, completely agree on Quicken occasionally having trouble with one account or another... and their pricing practices at times have been a little off putting.

        I looked at Mint when it came out years ago. I remember it being so basic, especially for investments. Has it's investment capability improved?

        I like Quicken for it's ability to store data offline, and it's so feature rich and deep! Granted you have to rassle with it a little at times, but you can really do a lot with it. I'm hoping to leverage it every step of the way to retirement and beyond!

        • offTheRecord

          In reply to moruobai:

          I should have mentioned above that I haven't really looked at Quicken since I "abandoned" it -- probably around 2010, maybe earlier. It's possible Quicken has addressed the issues I had with it and may be a great alternative now -- maybe it's even much better than what I use now. I don't know. I guess that's the risk for software companies: once you lose a customer, you may never get them back, even if you actually have a better product.

          Without knowing how you use it and what capabilities it currently has, I can't really comment on whether or not it has improved relative to other alternatives. What I use now works for me...for now. I would probably expect Quicken to be more granular in what it tracks and how it lets you track it, especially for cash purchases, but most of my purchases end up in Mint eventually (since probably 98% of my transactions are done electronically). I used to love to manually (and endlessly) fiddle with my computers and software; I would have been the classic example of a Fast Ring Insider. Now, I just want to get stuff done as simply and conveniently as possible. Maybe it's just old age.

          I do understand that the ability to store data offline can be a deal-breaker for many folks. It took a while before I was willing to go whole hog with cloud-based services like Yodlee and Mint. The thing is, for better or for worse, my banks and investment firms already have this info in the cloud, and it'll be there whether I want to use it or not. So I've decided to use it. And I have to say, it's really nice being able to access everything from anywhere at any time.

  12. offTheRecord

    I regularly pay an annual subscription fee for a VPN and (don't hate me) for a Skype phone number (I got the number a long time ago and it renews every year; it used to be called SkypeIn, no idea what it's called now). I've picked up a few versions of Office Pro (2010 and 2016) via the "Home User Program" for, I believe, $10 per version. In general, I still prefer Office 2010 as it seems to run more responsively on just about everything I run it on and it still has all of the functionality that I need. I also bought 2 Windows tablet PC games from the Microsoft Store when they were on sale one Christmas a few years ago -- for $0.10 each (I think those are the only PC games I've ever bought).

    I used to use things like MATLAB and Stata (which were in the thousands of dollars per year/version range), but now I only use open source stuff like Python and R for all programming and analysis needs.

    For backups, several years ago I paid for TeraByte Image for Windows (drive image software) and NTI Shadow (a real-time file copy and backup application). The older versions of these programs still work fine today on Windows 10.

    I also dabble in electronic music creation and have paid for a DAW (Reaper, which is an extremely reasonable $60 for non-professional users and only $255 for pros). I use free VSTs (virtual instrument/synth plugins) and samples for now, so I haven't had to shell out any money for those, yet. They can range in price from a few tens of dollars to thousands of dollars per plugin or sample pack.

    With a few fairly low-priced exceptions (not counting the Windows OS itself), most of the software I use these days is open source and free. I'd be surprised if I pay more than $100 a year for everything. I have a handful of devices of one sort or another running Linux today, whereas prior to Windows 10 I had nothing running Linux -- I was 100% Windows.

  13. Nic

    O365, Nova Launcher Prime (Android), Dark Sky (Android), Write! (Windows), Lightroom, Spotfy (Family Premium), LastPass, Pluralsight, a VPN service, Dropbox, VMWare Workstation.

    Glad that MS dev tools can be had for nothing now, no more spending on SQL licenses every year. Shame they dumped Technet though, MSDN is just too expensive for spinning up VMs to test things and not having to rebuild an entire domain every few months.

  14. wright_is

    Office 365, Windows 10 Pro (upgrades for PCs bought with standard Windows 10), Photoshop Elements, Paint .Net, Capture 1, Xing (German language equivalent to LinkedIn, although more service + apps as pure software), IT ProTV (subscription service + apps again). A few other odds and ends, plus a big shelf full of bought software from the last 2 decades...

  15. Brad Sams

    Spotify, Adobe Premier Elements, Office 365, Newton, To-Doist, xSplit, Voicemeter, Xbox Live.

  16. Otto Gunter

    I bought Total Commander about 20 years ago, and would pay for it every year if I had to; it's the hub of everything I do. My work on my pc is file-centric and TC is always front and centre on my system. It does file and dir comparisons, even synchronizes them, so no need for Beyond Compare.

    I also rent Office 365, the family makes good use of it. And I pay for MediaMonkey and Audials Tunebite when the version upgrades are worth it. I've also done many one-time donations, can't recall them all, but the ones I'd do again include FreeFileSync and WinPass, can't live without them. Does Spotify and Netflix count?

  17. simont

    Windows, Office 365, many Steam games and GOG games, Paint.net, filebot.net and Evernote. Then donations to VLC team, f.lux team, calibre team, Firefox team, 7-zip team.

  18. Oasis

    I paid for a copy of Acronis 2016 and copy of Acronis 2015 both on sale. Acronis 2016 has saved my butt a few times with HDD incidents. I bought a refurbished Dell 3847 Desktop from Costco in 2015 and it had a HDD that was flaky and when it failed I had a backup for it and recovery wasn't too hard. Worth every penny.....

  19. rameshthanikodi

    Adobe CC, Spotify. I also bought Nova Launcher Prime on Android.

    I paid for a few apps in the Microsoft Store back in the Windows Phone days - myTube is one of them. I actually continue using the myTube app on my PC because it's optimized for desktops too!

    Do games count as software? I pay for all my games. I also paid for a game recording software (d3dgear).

  20. sprewell

    Only the Android OS that comes bundled with the five Android devices I bought over the last five years, nothing else. I did send two bitcoin donations totaling $56 just this weekend, to the developers of open-source Android apps that I downloaded for free from the Play Store.

    Btw, this site should accept some crypto-currencies, at least for donations.

  21. dfalin

    Windows 10 Pro on my tower pc.

    Windows 10 Home on the laptop.

    Word Perfect x6 Home and Student Edition


    Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom

    YouTube Red / Google Play Music

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