IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Tips on Buying Office 365 Home: One-Time Purchase or Subscription Model

Here are some insights on whether to buy Office 365 Home as a one-time purchase or subscription. By Lisa Hendrickson

In my previous Office 365 post, I covered a lot about buying Office 365. But, some of you who prefer purchasing Office the old-school way might want to know the difference between buying or subscribing. I’ll fill you in!

There are benefits to using the subscription. If you don’t need the “extras” then you are looking at this … buying is about equal to two years of subscribing. Then you own it for life, or until it no longer works (Office 2007 still works for some folks!) so you might get eight free years of your purchase.

The Office 365 Home subscription offers five installations for any five members of your family for $99. One computer is $69. Reminder: Office 365 Home is not for your business computers. Some of my clients do buy the Home version without realizing that it’s for "family" only. I let them know when renewal time comes around to purchase the correct version.

This is what Microsoft states about Office 365 Home:

  • Best for households
  • For 5 PCs or Macs; 5 tablets including iPad, Android, or Windows; plus 5 phones
  • Fully installed versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, plus Publisher and Access for PC only
  • Exclusive upgrades and new features
  • 1TB OneDrive cloud storage per user, for up to 5 users
  • Microsoft support via chat or phone at no extra cost
  • Your subscription will automatically renew
  • Cancel anytime
  • Compatible with Windows 7 or later and Mac OS X 10.10. All languages included.

Here is my extended description!

  • Microsoft's tech support is pretty good for help with the applications. They do not help with email account setup and other 3rd-party apps (that’s what I do), but I have counted on them to help clients with really messy installation issues. They are helpful, which saves me and the clients time.
  • You can also use OneNote, and those notebooks are saved in OneDrive, which can sync across all computers and phones/devices. Many of my clients love OneNote, so this is important for them.
  • You also get 60 minutes of Skype time.

Benefits of buying just the software one time:

  • You buy it once and it will last for a long time. Look at Office 2003. It still works, technically, but the upgrades and features are out of date. I can no longer add an Exchange account to 2003. Outlook 2007 still works but only one account per profile.
  • It’s for one computer only and only the Office desktop applications.
  • From my experience, you can still get Microsoft support on this purchase even if you bought it from Amazon or Best Buy, etc.

Be careful!

  • When buying online, be mindful. If it’s cheap, you might be in for a cat-and-mouse game of “will this activate” and “has it been pirated” many times. This is common. Remember, saving a few dollars might cost you time!
  • You might experience an activation issue or logging-in problem. These usually can be resolved by calling Microsoft.
  • Best purchased right from Microsoft.
  • Be careful when setting up a new Windows 10 computer with your Office 365 accounts; I am seeing folks having issues with this.
  • I have a feeling that Microsoft will not offer free support for this product after some time. Just keep that in mind.

Final reminder: 

  • I do not sell Office 365 Home to clients, but I will help you purchase and install/configure.

That’s it folks! My next and final newsletter for the Office 365 series will be about supporting Office 365, mostly business.

Schedule time on my calendar here.
Read more about my prepay tickets here.


Lisa Hendrickson
Lisa Hendrickson is the owner of Call That Girl Technology Support. She is an Outlook expert and Office 365 consultant. Her specialties include being a remote support technician, technology blogger, podcaster, and she is also of the author of six e-books for computer repair businesses including the most popular, Call That Girl's Guide to Remote Support. To read and learn more, go to

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