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Free alternatives to pricey software

It used to be that if you wanted quality software you had to pay for it. Not so anymore. There are now dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of free software programs that rival their paid counterparts. Here are some of my favorites.

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Microsoft Office ($120 to $500)
LibreOffice - This free productivity suite contains a word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation software and much more. Even better, it can open your Microsoft Office documents and save them in Office formats. Find out why I recommend LibreOffice over OpenOffice.

Microsoft Publisher ($140)
Scribus - This is a great free tool for creating brochures, magazines and newsletters - and just about any other print publications. It contains all the features you need to turn your ideas into published reality.

Microsoft Outlook ($110)
Thunderbird - This powerful, lightweight email program makes creating and organizing email a snap. Use the Lightning extension to add a powerful calendar feature.

Adobe Acrobat ($300)
PDF creation and editing programs - Need a PDF file for work or another project? Use these great programs to create and edit PDF files for free.

QuickBooks Pro/Quicken ($230/$30)
GnuCash - Don't spend a lot of money for software to manage the money you have left after buying these programs. This powerful free accounting software lets you handle personal or business finances with ease.
AceMoney Lite - Looking to track your personal finances? This helpful program has you covered with investment tracking and bill reminders.

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