How to Save Money on Software Subscription Costs


The rise in the subscription buying model for software has seen software costs spiralling for many organisations and individuals. Of course, there are some benefits to buying your software through a subscription. But the downside is that you are committed to an ongoing cost. Multiply this by several subscriptions, and the costs soon begin to mount.

In today’s financial climate, cutting costs anywhere we can is something that we are all striving to do. This article looks at ways you can cut your software subscription costs without compromising on the quality of the product.

The Benefits of Software Subscription

The ongoing costs aside, there are a few benefits of paying for your software through a subscription. The major ones are listed below:

Spreading the cost – Ultimately, your software costs might work out higher with an ongoing subscription, but subscribing means there is no one-off payment. In some cases, this can avoid a hefty outlay.

Technical Support – Subscription-based software often comes with technical support, helping users to resolve any issues they encounter.

While these are all undoubted benefits of subscription-based software, the costs can quickly mount if you need to subscribe to several packages.

Ways to Save Money on Software

It is easy to quickly lose control of your software costs with a subscription purchasing model. In this section, we look at what steps you can take to control your software costs and cut down your monthly expenses.

Look For Alternatives

There are usually plenty of alternative software options that offer the same functionality but for a lower cost. There may even be open-source or free versions of similar software available. This may not be a practical option for every bit of software you use, but where possible, doing this can save a lot of unnecessary expenses.  

Consider Buying Your Software

One example of where this can be a great option is the Microsoft Office suite of programs. An annual subscription to Office 365 will vary depending on the plan you choose, but at the time of writing, an Office 365 Home Plan will cost £7.99 per month.

One alternative is to purchase a non-subscription full version of Microsoft Office Professional. But here’s the trick, purchasing this directly from Microsoft will typically cost around £220. However, if you shop around, there are plenty of reputable retailers who bulk-purchase product license keys and pass the savings on to the buying public.

For example, a genuine Microsoft Office 2021 Professional Plus product key can be purchased for less than £60,00. Or less than a year’s subscription to Office 365.

Negotiate With The Vendor

If you’re a larger company or organisation buying in bulk, then the software vendor may be open to negotiating lower rates. Contact the company and find out if they are willing to negotiate a B2B discounted rate.

Choose The Right Plan

Opting for more basic plans is always worth considering. We don’t always need all the features offered by a software package. Choosing carefully and opting for a basic plan that provides only the functionality you need can result in significant cost savings.

Discounts For Educational Or Charitable Organisations

Students and educational establishment employees are often eligible for discounts from the software vendor. Similarly, the educational establishments themselves may also be eligible for discounts.

The same applies to charitable organisations and other non-profit entities.

This varies from vendor to vendor, some may not offer any discounts, and the qualifying criteria may vary with others. But it is always worth asking the question.

Take Advantage of Free Trials

Free trials allow you to test the functionality of the software and how well it fits your needs before you subscribe. Always take advantage of free trials if they are available, this allows you to make an informed judgement before shelling out on a subscription. There are even some occasions when a free trial is all you need if you are looking for something to perform a one-off task.

Subscribe Only Where Necessary

It is easy to quickly lose track of all our software subscriptions. These days just about everything is available on subscription, and without keeping a close eye on all these relatively small outgoings, unnecessary costs can quickly mount.

Running a self-audit on your software is a worthwhile exercise. It can be surprising how many packages we pay for that we no longer or rarely use. One method is to list a core of the software packages you can’t do without. This lets you get an understanding of how much your necessary software costs are. But it also lets you make informed judgments on aspects like:

  1. Would buying the software be a better option?
  2. Do I need all the features, or can I opt for a cheaper plan?
  3. Are there cheaper or free options that would work equally well?
  4. A software audit will also let you see what lies outside your core of essential software. If you are paying subscription fees for any of these, then weigh up how much you need the package, there are likely more cost-effective solutions in most of these cases
  5. There are benefits to subscribing to software packages. But of course, the ongoing costs are always a consideration. With rising inflation and financial uncertainty the norm at the moment, many of us are cutting costs wherever we can

Looking at how you purchase your software and whether you need all those expensive subscriptions can produce a surprising of savings.