Look at the installed programs in your computer and begin by deleting any application you've used in yesteryear, but don't need anymore. Now get the exact programs that you are using. If you have two or more applications of exactly the same type write down only your preferred. Underline those that are not free.
Now you have an over-all view of all the software you've, both paid and free.
Search for alternatives
For each paid program you have installed, look for free alternatives. You might find it tough to choose one so to ease in the process, read some reviews and study the features and drawbacks of every program. This might seem complicated, but it's actually not. Any good application continues to be reviewed a minimum of several times on well-known websites. If you can't find any reviews for any program this means it isn't trustworthy or it's very new.
A great review will include the program's features and issues/bugs (if any), some screenshots with the UI and system requirements (so you can be sure it really works on your computer).
When free is not enough
If for instance you need a powerful image editing application and the free ones you've tried are simply not enough when it comes to functionality it's Alright to avoid freeware and purchase the application you need. The same goes for the cases when you have a paid program but can't find an affordable solution whatsoever.
Apart from that, whenever you do look for a free app to replace a paid one do not hesitate to do this. Even replacing 5 programs can save you a lot of money. Some programs actually have a yearly license renewal (in that case you will be saving much more money).
Where to find free applications
Finding free applications shouldn't be an issue. There are numerous websites that offer free software application downloads and even the trial versions of paid applications, all legally of course. An easy search on the Internet will disclose dozens of them. Just be careful to download the initial setup file, as some websites wrap applications in their own installers, that also include toolbars, search engines like google along with other third-party applications.
Whenever you finish analyzing your software list, and made the potential replacements sum up the license costs of the commercial apps you aren't using anymore to see how much money you were able to save.