With such a versatile utility, it becomes evident why most businesses worldwide rely on Microsoft Office 365 as their primary productivity suite. Whether you want to create simple text documents, develop complex datasheets or seamlessly communicate with your coworkers, Microsoft 365 has a tool for it.
While limited versions of these software are free to use, unlocking their full potential requires a paid subscription. Microsoft even announced that they are raising the price of some of their products, with additional increases possible in the future.
Fortunately, there are several steps that you could follow to reduce the cost of a Microsoft 365 renewal or when purchasing a new plan. Read on to discover the tips that allow you to save on personal or business licenses.
Microsoft 365 Editions and Apps
Microsoft 365 plans offer a variety of editions at different costs. The price usually depends on the included features and applications. Make sure you purchase the plan that best suits your needs to avoid unnecessary and recurring costs.
Microsoft 365 for home
This is the most basic plan, dedicated to individual users. The following apps are included: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, OneDrive and Editor. You can choose between two different editions:
- Microsoft 365 Personal: One license for a single person with 1 TB of storage, priced at $59.99/year.
- Microsoft 365 Family: Up to six licenses with 6 TB of storage for $79.99/year.
Microsoft 365 for business
In addition to the common apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and OneDrive), Microsoft 365 for business provides advanced cloud services for companies. There are three different editions:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic: For $5 a month for each user, you get business-class email, standard security, as well as Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint.
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard: You receive all the features found in the previous edition plus two more applications, Access and Publisher, available on PC only. This plan costs $12.50 every month for one user.
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium: This edition includes all the features and applications in Microsoft 365 Business Standard. You also get advanced security, cyberthreat protection and Azure Information Protection. Microsoft has priced this edition at $20 per user for one month.
It is important to mention that you have to purchase an annual subscription if you want to get these plans.
Microsoft 365 for enterprise
This is the most developed plan since it provides robust security and compliance capabilities to large organizations. All three enterprise editions include the applications mentioned above in addition to OneNote, Bookings, Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, Power BI Pro and much more. You can choose one of the three editions below:
- Microsoft 365 E3: Some of the services such as analytics are partially included. You also benefit from core security and compliance features, for $32 per user every month.
- Microsoft 365 E5: Advanced security capabilities in addition to voice and analytical functionalities, for $35 per user/month. Almost all applications are fully included.
- Microsoft 365 F3: This edition is similar to E3 but without analytics tools. It is priced at $8 per user every month.
5 Steps to Save on Microsoft Office 365 Renewal or Purchase
What is the cheapest way to get Microsoft Office 365? Fortunately, there are several tips you can follow to save on Microsoft 365 renewals and even first-time license purchases.
Purchase the license from a retailer
As a general rule, you should not buy directly from Microsoft. Most of the time, you can find a reseller offering different editions at a lower price. Known retailers, such as Amazon, list the same product at a more competitive price. Microsoft tends to sell their products at the highest rates, and sometimes you also need to pay taxes. Take the time to browse online to renew your license before it expires or when you decide to place your first Microsoft 365 purchase.
Auto-renewal turn off
By default, Microsoft enables the auto-renewal option on their products. Make sure you turn it off so you don’t pay the highest price. It is advisable to manually renew Microsoft office65 when you find good deal. Knowing when your license expires is essential to avoid losing access to premium features.
Search for bundles
Microsoft 365 is sometimes bundled with other tools or applications, especially anti-virus software. These bundles are common for Microsoft 365 home licenses. If you happen to need both tools, then you can easily find a bundle online with a combined price lower than the added prices of both. Nevertheless, it is not recommended to rely on anti-virus to safeguard your data. Users usually rely on a Microsoft 365 backup solution for optimal data protection.
Renew Microsoft 365 manually after 15 months
All regular Microsoft 365 licenses expire after 12 months. However, Microsoft offers a grace period of up to three months, starting at the expiration date. You can still benefit from all the tools included in your current plan. If you renew after 15 months, the new expiration date will be based on your new Microsoft 365 renewal date. In other words, you get three months for free.
Try to avoid sales tax
In some countries or states, large retailers charge sales tax for products bought online. Check if your billing address is located in a region that enforces this type of tax. Sometimes customers change their address to a tax-free location to save on these extra fees when ordering an item.
Additional Tips to Save On Microsoft 365 Licensing
Almost any user can apply the previously mentioned steps to reduce the price of Microsoft 365 renewal or license purchases. That said, there are some additional case-specific tips that could further help you save some money.
Home Use Program
If you happen to work at an organization that has purchased Microsoft volume licensing, you may benefit from the Home Use Program (HUP). This means that you can get Microsoft 365 for home edition without paying an extra fee. The HUP stays valid for as long as you work for the same company. Make sure you reach out to your employer to check if you are eligible for this program.
Microsoft 365 offer for students and teachers
Students, teachers or faculty members at a verified educational institution might be qualified to get a license at no additional cost. They can access Microsoft 365 for home that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams and OneNote, in addition to other classroom tools that could come in handy throughout the academic year, all for free.
Simply add your school email address to Microsoft’s website and wait for the automated verification process to grant you access. This procedure might take up to a month if your institution is yet to be verified.
If you have graduated recently, you can still get Microsoft 365 at a discounted price using your school email address.
Assignment strategy for Microsoft 365 licenses
In large corporations, employees require different tools and applications to conduct their daily operations. Understanding the exact needs of your workforce allows you to purchase the right Microsoft 365 plan for you. Conducting a thorough evaluation of your business requirements and subsequently paying for the minimum amount of licenses will save you a decent amount of money on Microsoft 365 renewals and new license purchases.
License monitoring and cleanup
Another way to easily reduce your costs is through continuous license tracking. Ensure that all purchased Microsoft 365 plans are being efficiently used by your staff. Constantly monitoring the licenses allows you to quickly discover if a user account has been inactive for an extended period of time.
You can then reassign the license to another employee or deactivate it if you no longer need it. Choosing the latter option deletes all related items, such as mailboxes, which could sometimes lead to irreparable data loss or even compliance issues. Having a Microsoft 365 backup solution allows you to retain data for as long as you need and ensure regulatory compliance.
Price should not be the reason you miss out on the best features in the Microsoft 365 productivity suite. Students, employees and executives complete most of their projects using Microsoft applications and all of them could benefit from a cost reduction. Follow the tips mentioned in this blog to save on Office 365 annual subscriptions when renewing or purchasing a license.