Glenn Reynolds made mention of Open Office, a free office suite that I've been using for the past few years. While the first version I downloaded and installed some years ago, Open Office 1.1, wasn't exactly perfect, it was far better than nothing at all. Since then it has improved greatly to the point where I prefer it over Bill Gates' flawed Microsoft Office.
I presently use Open Office 2.4 on both my Windows and Linux machines and I find it to be far more useful to me than MS Office (I use MS Office at work). While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of MS Office, it does do everything I want or need it to do, and does it well. But the one biggest kudo I have for Open Office is that it doesn't try to help me or automatically format a document I'm working on when I don't want it to. That is one of Microsoft Office's biggest annoyances, that it “knows better” what I want to do than I do. I've lost count of how many times I've had to undo something MS Office insisted I wanted to do even though I had no intention of doing what MS Office did for me.
Other than a few obscure functions available in MS Office, I haven't found anything that I do in MS Office at work that I can't do in Open Office. In many cases Open Office does it better.
These days I steer friends to Open Office if they're in the market for an Office suite. If nothing else the price is right: Free!