I don’t consider myself to be cheap with my money — if I want something I’m willing to pay for it. That mentality explains the three computers, two PDAs, an iPod, LCD TV, 1,000 Music CDs, and hundreds of computer games in my library. However, I don’t derive great pleasure from spending money and will avoid spending if possible.

This is the dilemma I found myself in this past month, when I considered the upgrade to my favorite zip application WinZip. I paid for a license for WinZip probably 10 years ago and have diligently upgraded to the latest version as they became available. WinZip was a familiar friend on my PC — a piece of software I could count on to do its job without complaining. It was a comfort application. But then the folks at WinZip did something unfathomable, they demanded that I pay them more money to upgrade to version 10 of their software.

And while the incentive price was half what others were asked to pay, it still did not sit well. Not that the cost was exorbitant, it is quite reasonable, it is the fact that my license purchased way back when was what I considered to be “lifetime” license. The idea of paying again for the same software, like I was dealing with some big outfit like Microsoft or Apple, just never occurred to me.

With so many compression applications floating around, not to mention the fact that Windows XP comes with one built-in, it is just not possible for me to justify to myself the, measly though it is, $15 expense. Just yesterday, we ran a photo gallery of a compressing utility that is completely free to use, 7-Zip. I can find no reason to pay for the upgrade to WinZip and so another application staple on all my PCs is going away. I guess it is true what they say: The only constant in life is change.

What compression application do you use and would recommend I try?