Microsoft has a little known offer called the ultimate steal which allows students and academics to buy top notch software for a fraction of their prices.
There's nothing fancy or difficult and most importantly, once you are no longer a student, you can still keep the software (apparently).
Individual must possess a valid e-mail address at a UK educational institution which contains the domain suffix 'ac.uk', 'ac.im', 'ac.gg', 'ac.je' or 'open.ac.uk'.
If the domain suffix is 'open.ac.uk' then staff/students do not need to meet the minimum contact and/or working/teaching time requirements outlined in point 2 below.
If you are a student, you must be enrolled in an education institution geographically located in the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man. If a Higher Education student, you must be enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate level course. If a Further Education student, you must have at least 15 hours of scheduled contact time per week for your course.
If you are a member of staff, you must be employed (at least 8 hours or 4 teaching hours/week) at an education institution geographically located in the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man.
Buy Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 and Windows Office Ultimate 2007 from Microsoft for only £79.90, that's a 90 percent discount from their suggested retail price.