Totally agree about Elements, craigiri, I stopped updating Photoshop years ago due to the crippling costs and found the latest Elements does almost everything I need (though sometimes in a bit of a dumbed down interface) at a fraction of the cost.
I use Lightroom almost exclusively. Not only is the interface far easier to use than PS, it has a enough editing tools to do almost everything I need to do. Plus it help you organize your photos in a way that PS can't match.
And if you need more editing tools, go with PS Essentials. Unless you are a Pro or very serious hobbyist, PS is overkill (not to mention very expensive.)
I use Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 2013 for all of my vector based website graphics and for manipulating photos for use in logos and such. It's cheap and incredibly powerful - I find it much easier to use than Illustrator. There is a very active support community for when you need help too. I've been using Xara in various forms for over 14 years now - still love it and use it almost daily.
Some examples of Xara:
http://rebaa.com.au/ - I recently built this site for a client, all graphics on that site are created using Xara, including the roll-over main menu navigation (I don't use the menu or website generator wizards in Xara - I hand-build my websites). The main slider images were generated using Xara, as were the slider navigation elements
http://andreadavies.com.au/ - is the site I am currently working on (live, but not publicly launched yet), again, all website graphics were created using Xara. For example, I've attached my main sprite file below, all created in Xara - layers make it easy to manage, named colours and relative colours make changing the colour-scheme site-wide a breeze, and since everything is vector-based, making changes and resizing elements is simple. The opacity-mask for the photo in the header graphic was also created using Xara.