Using free alternatives instead of Microsoft Office

Are you using Microsoft Office products, and paying an annual subscription?
Have you considered using a FREE alternative?

You can use Google Docs freely, as an individual. 
This is an online solution, so only works when you are online, and saves to Google Drive, so you would need a google account to be able to use that properly – however, most folks have a google account these days, and if you don’t, it’s quick and free to create one.

Small Business users:
(If you are a small business, you can utilise Google Workspace – prices here:
clearly, this is a direct competitor to Microsoft 365 who have their prices and plans here:

LibreOffice is a FREE alternative to Microsoft Office.  Given that most people focus on WORD and EXCEL, the alternatives WRITER and CALC can provide all the features that most people need, and have the added advantage of being able to read and write to the Microsoft file formats (docx & xlsx).
You can download LibreOffice from their web site here:

Note that LibreOffice is Open Source code, and if after a time, you find it fulfils your needs, you should consider DONATING to support the project.

LibreOffice is a branch of OpenOffice known as Apache OpenOffice, but at the time of writing, only LibreOffice was able to SAVE to Microsoft formats. 
Also, LibreOffice is a “traditional” PC based office suite – note that there are versions for Windows AND for Linux, so if you are truly committed to Cost Savings, you can change your operating system too.  (Linux is also free-of-charge).

Linux instead of Microsoft Windows

Realistically, given Microsoft’s hold on the new computer market, it’s practically impossible to buy a new computer that DOESN’T come with Windows.  The alternatives nowadays are Apple Mac computers, or Chromebooks.  In fact, if you want the world’s fastest computer, you need to buy a Mac !

So, as it is so hard to buy a computer with Linux pre-loaded, the primary use of Linux is to breathe new life into older computers.  So if your laptop running an older copy of Windows, or even Windows 10, is running far slower than it used to do, rather than get a new machine, consider replacing Windows with Linux.  It may give your computer or laptop another 2-3 years of useful life.
Contact HarmonixIT if you would like help achieving this, or there are plenty of “How to” guides on-line – like this one.

Buy Refurbished instead of new

Considered the green option – why buy a new computer, when you can get one pretty much just as good from a refurbished supplier?  Checking the press, computers are still getting quicker and quicker – check out the range of apple-mac’s powered by the M1 chip if you need proof, HOWEVER, if you are used to buying Windows based computers, you should be able to find a very good buy from a refurbished seller. 

There are many outlets out there selling refurbished, but two HarmonixIT would recommend are and (Tried and tested 😊)

It’s quite possible to pick up a fast Intel i7 powered computer with 16GB of memory and a fast 500GB Solid state disk for as little as £330 (Prices checked in February 2023).

Checking all your subscriptions

Everybody wants your money these days – and so many sellers try to capture a consistent payment.  So many offers are low or half price at the very beginning, then they get you with a full price after 6 months or a year.  Auto-renew is “supposed” to help the customer in case they forget, but in reality, is a way of ensuring sellers make money over and over again. Some sellers are much worse than others.  Avoid US based firms like “GoDaddy” who, we have found, are guilty of not only auto-renewing without your permission, but also increasing the number of YEARS you have signed up to.  Disgraceful behaviour, and very difficult to complain about from the UK.

So we recommend you check EVERYTHING you are subscribed to – from broadband, to internet domains, hosting, security software, cloud services, backup services – ANYTHING you are subscribed to.  Make absolutely sure you still actually NEED these services, and you can’t get better value elsewhere.  You will find, along with insurance companies, no-one is rewarded for loyalty!

We hope some of these ideas will help you to cut costs, and if you would like to engage HarmonixIT to look at your particular case, we would welcome the opportunity – Just send us an enquiry via the Contact page.