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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Digital Scrapbooking on the Cheap Part 2: Save Money on Software

A couple of days ago I talked about how to reduce the need for extra hardware when you start digital scrapbooking. Today we're going to talk about saving money on the software involved. I am not going to discuss the merits and drawbacks of individual software programs; instead, I'm going to show you how to try a lot of them for free, and how to save money on the software that you ultimately decide is right for you.

Use Free Trials
You can put off buying software by using free trials. Almost all scrapbooking programs have thirty-day limited use trials. If you stagger one trial at a time, you can have five or six months of free scrapbooking before you actually have to spring for a program. Before you start a free trial, prep by downloading all the kits you like (that post is coming up next) and planning or sketching some pages you want to do. That way when you start your trial, you can focus on actually generating pages, not on gathering material or planning layouts.

Here are some links for free trials:

Adobe CS4
Adobe Photoshop Elements
Paint Shop Pro
Scrapbook Max
Photo Impact
Digital Scrapbook Place has a page with links to free software trials.
Memory Mixer's website has a free trial coming soon here.

Use Free Software
Additionally, there are a few free layout programs available online. Layout programs have less versatility and fewer options than design programs do, but they're still a functional way for a beginning scrapper to put some pages together. I haven't used any of these programs myself, but I've seen other scrappers and forums speak of them favorably.

Scrapbook Flair
Photomix
Paint
Scrapblog (Thanks Jill and Stephen) for the tip.

When You Buy, Buy Cheaply
If you decide that you love digital scrapping, you're going to end up wanting buy one of the major digital scrapbooking programs like PSE, Memory Mixer, or Photoshop.When that time comes, here are some possibilities for saving money.

1. Search Shoplocal.com for local deals on your software. Shoplocal searches your local ads for sales, so if you find a good deal there you can just run to the store and get it. There are real bargains to be had here, too.
2. Search Shopzilla.com for online deals on your software. To support PYP, you can come back and use PYP’s affiliate links to make your actual purchase.
3. Consider buying an older version. Once a new version of a program comes out, you can often buy the old version fairly cheaply. These older versions usually have most of the features that the new ones have at a fraction of the price. For instance, I inherited PSE 4.0 from my grandmother when she upgraded to 6.0. It's beautifully functional and I've never wanted to do something and not been able to do it because I had an older version of PSE. IF I were just starting out, I could buy this perfectly workable version on Ebay for 15 dollars, and I'd be in scrapbooking business! Just make sure that you're buying the software, and not a software manual.
4. Check your local warehouse stores for deals or coupons. For instance, right now Costco has a coupon for 30 dollars off the new PSE 7.0 software. This makes it 40 percent cheaper than it is on Amazon.com.

Stay tuned! Coming next is a guide to downloading free digital scrapbooking materials. You're going to love what you learn!

If you're interested in other aspects of frugal digital scrapbooking, you can read the entire series.

2 comments:

Stephen & Jill Williams said...

Also check out srapblog.com. Another free use site with editing.

Heidi said...

Thanks Jill and Stephen! I added it to the post.

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