Going Broke On Upgrades

I haven’t upgraded to Tiger yet. I plan to. But my software and systems are running great right now and I’m being productive. I do lots of different digital things on my Mac to make a living. I don’t focus heavily on any one area so I own a ton of applications.

When Apple comes out with a new OS or a big upgrade it is exciting….for a minute. Then I go through the hell of finding out that many of the apps I currently “own” will not work. I have to pay for an upgrade to get back to being compatible. All in the name of progress I guess.

Here is an estimate of the UPGRADE costs of the Mac software I can’t do without. Most of these companies come out with a major upgrade once per year.

OS Upgrade (Tiger this year): $129.00 or $10.75/month.
Adobe Creative Suite: $549.00 or $45.75/month
Macromedia Studio MX with Flash Pro: $299.00 or $24.92/month
Steinberg Cubase SX: $399.00 or $33.25/month
Macromedia Director: $399.00 or $33.25/month
10 shareware programs @$15 each: $150.00 or $12.50/month
Apple Studio: $699.00 or $58.25/month
Filemaker: $179.00 or $14.92/month
Quicken: $79.00 or $6.58/month
Audio Plugins: $200.00 or $16.67/month
Photoshop Plugins: $150 or $12.50/month
Quicktime Pro: $30 or $2.50/month
DVD ripping and compression: $150 or $12.50/month
Microsoft Office: $299.00 or $24.92/month
Ableton Live: $150.00 or $12.50/month
Graphic Converter: $30.00 or $2.50/month

Grand total $4041 bucks. If I broke that down on an average per month it would be $336.75. Let’s say I make these payments for a 5 year period. That totals to over $20,000.

I’m all for “progress” but it’s getting to the point where I have to selectively choose which apps I’m going to upgrade. If the new version of Photoshop has some amazing new feature I’ve gotta have I’ll get it. I was pretty mad when I paid for the Photoshop 4.0 upgrade. Not much of a change there. How about Final Cut? Honestly, I could still be using Final Cut Pro version 1.2 for most of the video editing I do, or even iMovie for that matter.

To make things worse, I have to do some PC work as well. The most painful situation there is with Macromedia Director. I originally paid about $1200 for my Mac version of Director. I was going to be a great multimedia producer for Mac and PC. Then the nightmare: You have to buy the application for both platforms! That is $2400 bucks. Brutal. Now when I upgrade Director, it is usually $399 for the Mac plus another $399 for the PC version.

My solution these days is to skip an update or two. That cuts the costs down a little. And most the applications don’t really have world changing additions from one rev to the next.


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