We all know that pirating software is illegal, but we are also aware of the fact that it happens. I am not saying you are doing, but you surely know someone that does. 😉 People do not usually feel bad about it when it comes to pirating software produced by big companies like Microsoft or Adobe, but what about little developers? What about all the little independent or small companies that really rely on every sold copy?
We are more likely to feel bad for the little guy, the underdog. Well, big companies have little guys working for them and being all Robin Hood about pirating does not make it right. So, if you are trying to do the right thing, but save some money in the process… what are your options?
Connect with the developer
I do not expect you to personally email and call the person that created the program you want to buy, but you could follow the company on social networks. Most companies have Twitter and Facebook nowadays and most still use newsletters. Subscribe to their newsletter! You will get notified of promotions, deals and discounts directly from the source and if you are lucky, you might not even wait too long for it.
Be a student
Students (and pupils) often get discounts when purchasing computer equipment, and same applies for applications and programs. If you are a student, use your status to your benefit. Of course, this applies to those that can prove their status. Do not give up if you are not an American student and/or do not have a school email address. You could apply (for a small fee) for International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and use it to prove your student status.
Another option is to… find a student. 😉 Invite your cousin over for a pizza and have them do you a favour.
I have to admit I have not seen this option for Windows programs, so it might be a Mac only solution. Bundles are collections of applications that sell as one purchase. While it is not necessary cheaper if you are interested in just one app, if is almost surely cheaper if you want two. For example, MacHeist is offering their 4th bundle with 18 apps for $29 and some apps you could even get for free by simply tweeting.
If you like playing games, Steam is your destination. You will find many games on Steam and they have promotions and discounts every month for different games. Currently #1 of top selling list of games for Windows is Assassin’s Creed Pack. With 66% off, you would be paying only €38. There are, of course, many cheaper games you could spend many hours enjoying.
Most programs offer trial versions, and most of those actually give you full access for a limited number of days. Use those trials. If you need a program for a specific one time occasion, you could get away with just using the trial. If the program is something you need as a more permanent solution, a trial will show you if that specific program fits (or not) your needs before you spend money on it.
And of course… sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and buy what you need at full price. Just remember that you are buying a product of many hours of someone’s work and thanks to your contribution they will continue to be able to develop useful programs for all of us!