Some users want Office but don’t want to pay for the current products—Office 2019 standalone software, or Microsoft 365’s subscription-based Office apps. You can get Microsoft Office for cheap if you're willing to buy an older version, but you need to shop carefully. Here’s what to consider before you buy.
Check the expiration date
First of all, check product lifecycles and compatible Windows versions before you invest. Office 2000 through 2007 no longer work in Windows 10. Office 2010 ends October 13, 2020. Office 2013 is scheduled for termination on April 11, 2023. But Office 2016, which was originally slated to die much sooner, was extended through October 14, 2025—which is also the last day for Office 2019.
Microsoft says these products will still function normally after death, but there will be no more updates. At the least, you will want a robust antivirus program to fend off attacks.
We’ve all shopped online long enough to know that extra care is required when buying used or older products. Because Amazon offers some buyer protections, it's a good place to start. As of this writing we found Office 2016 Home & Student for $79 on Amazon, and Office 2013 for $200-$240 on Amazon.
You could also try eBay, where Office deals could be had for as little as $9. However, deals this cheap should be scrutinized carefully.
Beware of software scams and unreliable vendors
Wander further afield on the Internet, and you’ll find other deals that may be too good to be true. For instance, SoftwareKeep.com has Office 2010 for $88 and Office 2013 for $58. Prime Software has Office 2019 for $99. Both businesses advertise that they are a “Microsoft Partner & Solution” company, but the complaints and reviews on both organizations are bad. SoftwareMax has Office 2016 for $58, but a quick search online shows the business is closed, and it has an ‘F’ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Complaints abound in various reviews, including RipOff Report.com
One more avenue to explore is university bookstores. They offer discounts to students and faculty, of course, but they may extend that to alumni—it never hurts to ask.