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6 software programs worth paying for

With so many software options available for your computer, it can be tough to wade through the programs to decide what the needs, wants, and wastes are — especially when it comes to programs that you have to pay for.

After all, software programs can be pricey, and many software suites can start at several hundred dollars just for personal use. Other programs can be cheaper on the front end but require pricey monthly subscriptions or other costly subscription and auto-renewal price structures. Related: Don’t accidentally install junk when you download software

So, given the cost that is often attached to software programs, how can you know which ones are worth paying for? Well, there are six software programs that are worth paying for in most cases listed below. You may have to shell out some dough for these programs, but the capabilities and the features they offer make them well worth the price tag.

Microsoft Office

One software program that’s well worth the investment is the Microsoft Office suite, which is so popular that in 2016 it was used by 1.2 billion people. Part of the reason Office is so popular is that it gives you access to the so-called Office “Holy Trinity” — Powerpoint, Word, and Excel, three of the most beloved programs.

If you’re currently using any of these programs on a regular basis, you know the capabilities are invaluable and that the other free alternatives — like Google Docs, Libre, or Google Sheets, which can be good options for casual users or limited personal use — just won’t cut it.

One of the major selling points of Microsoft Office programs is that all the programs are designed to work seamlessly with one another. So if you’re using a standalone version of Word or Powerpoint, you may want to consider upgrading to the full Office Suite. It will give you access to Powerpoint, Word, Excel, Publisher, Access, OneNote, and Outlook — maximizing the capabilities of the programs you’re already using.

RELATED: Find out how Microsoft wants to fix your crappy writing

Grammarly

States are opening up in some capacity or another, but many of us are still working remotely — at least part-time — until the COVID-19 pandemic eases its grip on the world. Working from home means that we’re not having in-person meetings that were common in an office environment.

We’re communicating in different ways instead: that means more emails, more written communication, more Slack messages, and more focus on grammar and our writing skills. You want to sound smart in whatever you write and present yourself in the best light — whether it’s a letter, a report, or a social media post.

That’s where Grammarly comes in: This subscription editing program automatically checks your writing for spelling, grammar, and tone mistakes and offers suggestions for corrections or alternative ways to phrase certain things.

Don’t believe us? Well, Kim has been loving and using Grammarly for 149 weeks straight. That alone should be a hefty endorsement, as should the 6.9 million daily active users who swear by this program. If you want to put your best written-face forward, tap or click here.

IDrive

Are you relying on your device’s memory to back up your devices? That’s not the best plan — the original and copy should never be stored on the same computer or you risk losing both your backup and your original copy if something happens to your device.

And that’s not to mention that simply backing up a single device doesn’t cut it anymore — we’re all using multiple devices: phones, tablets, laptops, hard drives, and even family devices, all of which need to be backed up to protect your information and your devices.

So, rather than rely on subpar backup methods, you should use a trusted service like IDrive instead. IDrive allows you to securely protect data on all the devices you and your family own on one cloud account for one low price.

This tool backs up files on your devices, lets you restore your devices from the latest backups, allows you to configure the online backup and schedule it for another date or time, and also lets you back up mapped and external hard drives.

Using IDrive essentially means you’ll have peace of mind that all of your devices are covered and important information is backed up and secure — all for a few bucks a month.

RELATED: The must-have tool to keep your data safe

ExpressVPN

Are you concerned about your privacy? Well, you should be — data breaches happen all the time, and if you haven’t been the victim of a breach and exposed personal information yet, chances are you will be at some point in the future.

Wi-Fi connections aren’t infallible — especially when you’re utilizing public Wi-Fi to browse the web. Hackers and scammers are always on the prowl for insecure connections that will allow them to access your personal information and steal your money, which is why you need a virtual private network, or VPN, to help cut down on potential privacy issues.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN available, and while it will cost you a few bucks to use, it’s a small price to pay to maintain your privacy and protect your bank account. When you use ExpressVPN, it will block your IP address, keep your browsing private, and protect you from internet providers tracking your browsing history.

As a bonus, ExpressVPN will also let you unblock websites and bypass filters, which can be a handy tool when you’re using public or work Wi-Fi connections that often have concrete browsing parameters in place. ExpressVPN is something you need on your computer, laptop, tablet, and phone — as the benefits of this software are certainly worth the investment.

RoboForm

As you are well aware, it’s important to maintain strong passwords. Using a weak, easy to remember password can be convenient for your login needs, but it puts your personal information at risk and leaves you vulnerable to attacks by scammers and hackers. Once you’ve been compromised, it can be a hassle to undo the damage that’s been done — especially if you’re slow to catch the issue.

To avoid any issues with hacking and scamming, it’s important to use complex, unique passwords on all of your accounts. Luckily, you don’t have to remember that long letter-number-symbol password chain to secure your computer and accounts. You can let a password manager like RoboForm do the work for you.

RoboForm securely stores all of your passwords and logs you in with a single tap or click and allows you to AutoFill personal and billing information for long web forms. This software costs a few bucks to use, but it’s well worth the price and is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

Securing your accounts is invaluable, so it’s worth spending the money on RoboForm to protect your personal information from the vulnerabilities that weak passwords open you up to.

Identity Guard

As technology advances, so do the scams, hacks, and cyberattacks that are meant to steal your information, your identity, and your money — and it’s especially bad right now in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the FBI has noted a steep rise in cybercrime reports since the start of the pandemic. as have the FTC and Better Business Bureau.

These threats are well documented, which has led many people to take basic measures like employing a credit monitoring service to make sure nothing suspicious pops up on their reports.

But while credit monitoring is a good start, that alone isn’t going to cut it in the battle against hacks and cyberattacks. You need to invest in a program like Identity Guard, too, which is the most powerful identity theft protection service available. And, it costs a fraction of what the other guys charge.

What makes Identity Guard worth the money? Well, it offers a slew of identity protection services, including comprehensive three-bureau credit monitoring and Social Security Number, internet, Dark Web, and black-market monitoring, too. This service also offers real-time alerts to notify you about potential threats to your information or identity so you can quickly address any potential issues that arise.

These services are well worth the few bucks a month it will cost you to purchase Identity Guard, and it’s hardly a stretch to say that the investment is worth every penny to protect your identity, financials, and credit history.

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