Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) is a free audio editor and recorder. When I started at my church, we recorded sermons on tape. It worked, but the process was antiquated and increasingly impractical. I wanted to begin digitally taping the messages. After a quick search on the Internet, I learned how to connect our desktop to our soundboard, but we still needed software to record the audio. The solution was Audacity, an incredibly easy tool to use. Our Sunday morning tech volunteers only need to know how to press record and stop. With only the download of a quick plug-in, Audacity also permits exporting of the audio in MP3 format, ideal for uploading files onto our website.
4. Buy Previous Editions
Perhaps one of the simplest ways to save money on technology software involves buying previous editions. Older software often only lacks a few of the features of its latest counterparts—but typically costs less. Many times, the new features add little to the practical value of the product. While this approach offers numerous opportunities, the greatest value for us has been in obtaining quality photographs for backgrounds. Broderbund's Print Shop contains hundreds of professional level, high-resolution images. Broderbund currently markets Print Shop version 23, however version 21 can be obtained on Amazon for less than $10. Though rather clunky and unstable, the value of the software lies in its images. In fact, we don't use Print Shop's publishing features. Instead, we find an image from Print Shop's gallery and then copy and paste it into G.I.M.P. for editing. Within a few minutes, we have inexpensive, great-looking sermon promotions for the Internet, PowerPoint presentations, and lobby posters.