We have an ethnic melting pot where I live and they have coined a phrase that comes to mind. "Da's Materiaal" usually accompanied by a typical Italian gesture. Roughly translated it means "those are tools" but it can mean it's very good to delicious. "I'm sure those are pretty rollerskates but if you want me to help you move you better get us a lorry from Tony, those are tools"
I've been on a budget so if I needed to do something like create a gradient, cut a mp3 to a ringtone, crop an image, create a meme, make a gif ... or whatever, then I always looked to do it as cheap as possible.
The expensive software does the trick but most of the time you end up paying for a lot of bells and whistles you don't need nor use. Sometimes an opensource project can help you complete the exact same thing for free. If you really like it you can always donate what you can spare.
Below I've put all the gems I found during my years on the internet.