Don't despair, however. There are many online alternatives to costly programs.
Individual needs and abilities are varied, so what works for one may not be what another wants. Good thing life is about choice. And when it comes to finding software to meet your needs there's plenty of that.
I decided to do a little searching and see what options I could turn up. Happily I discovered a website that did most of the work for me, offering choices galore. mashable.com 35 Free Graphics Programs provided links to, and information about, a number of possibilities.
Here is the Coles Notes version of what Graphics Toolbox had to say:
For people in search of a manipulation program that works well for photo retouching and image creation, gimp 2.8 could be the perfect solution, while, Paint.NET Free Software for Digital Photo Editing is image and photo editing software for Windows computers.
For a speedy graphics program with plenty of features, also for Windows, try Ultimate Paint, while Skencil is a vector drawing program with many elements, such as gradient fills and bezier curves.
A vector graphics editor, Inkscape is a good option for people interested in something akin to Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
SmoothDraw To Be an Artist Now is a freehand drawing tool, which will also smooth lines drawn with a mouse.
For people who like to paint without the mess Project Dogwaffle is a functional program developed for the PC.
Sodipodi is a vector-based program with a ton of features, such as the ability to create vertical text, and out-of-centre gradients.
A freeware paint and drawing program for Windows, Artweaver the Artist Way has a wide range of painting tools, and comes in free and cost versions.
So you see, finding the right program for your needs needn't mean a big outlay of cash or settling for something you don't find user-friendly.