One thing that Thrifty Cas and I do to help stretch our budget is to find alternatives to paid software and services. I actually work in the software industry and know that very often these alternatives (often either dramatically cheaper or even better – FREE!) will give you the same features and often more. In fact, be watching for our next article in this series when we talk about an alternative to Microsoft Office – some of the features the alternative provide are actually better then the “real thing”.
Up first: Gimp – a powerful yet FREE alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
I read an article on my recent copy of Popular Mechanics that Gimp is a relatively equal quality software to Adobe Photoshop. What is the difference in cost? Well, pro level Adobe Photoshop can be up to $1,300 and Gimp is as FREE as you can get!
I was actually very impressed to see this. Not only have I been using it for approximately that last 3-4 years, but I am really starting to see this product’s name everywhere as a great alternative to Photoshop. We have used it from the most basic usage (to help us fine tune our photos for our photo FREEBIES) all the way to using some more advanced features (e.g., knitting photos together, layers, paths). We use Gimp for much of our editing quite frequently here on The Thrifty Couple (caveat: the limitations in our images is not that of Gimp but of mine – a work in progress ;P). In fact, our logo, button and new diaper deal banner was all made with using this FREE software.
It has done everything that we would want and more.
I have to admit that it was an eye-opener to me on the value that I was actually getting. According to this magazine article – Gimp does nearly everything that this $1,300.00 software does. And…I hadn’t actually looked at the recent cost of Pro-Level Adobe Photoshop for about five years – I was quite amazed.
The real question with any software – whether paid or FREE – is how to actually use it! Well, to help answer that for Gimp, you need to check out the large amount of information on how to actually utilize the Gimp program. If I have a question, a task or a project that I am trying to complete – I have been able to find tutorials as well as YouTube videos that show me step-by-step how to complete my goal. This last weekend I was on YouTube checking out some of the great video tutorials by individuals that had done exactly what I was looking to do – watching them was so much easier than trying to follow a step-by-step list of instructions.
Check out the following links to get started:
- You can get the FREE Gimp download here.
- You can also use the FREE tutorials on the Gimp website.
- You can also watch YouTube videos on Gimp usage. Search by a specific topic with key words and you can pretty much find it all right at your finger tips!
Be watching for our continued series on cheap and FREE alternatives to expensive software. We would love to hear some of your suggestions as well on how you save money with alternatives to the expensive software we all know and hate to pay for.