For many basic computing needs, you can get free software rather than shelling out for the Microsoft Office Home & Student suite ($139.99), Quicken Deluxe for budgeting ($23.35), Adobe Photoshop Elements for photo editing ($64.98) and other popular programs.
For word processing, spreadsheets and multimedia presentations, try OpenOffice.org or Google Docs. To manage finances, we like the free budgeting program at Mint.com. And for photo and video editing, try Aviary, Picasa, Pixlr or Apple’s built-in iMovie software."
But they don't seem to know that there are free operating systems!