I have to second Brian's advice. It's one of the community's long-running frustrations, that Apple never sells machines with base RAM configurations suitable for more than booting the operating system. When you look at their memory prices in their build-to-order configurations, it becomes clear this is a deliberate grab for money. Any new Mac purchase should always be accompanied by a visit to Crucial or another reputable (and cheaper!) memory vendor.
When I bought my G4 desktop several years ago, I swore that I was done buying software from Microsoft. AppleWorks still fulfills my needs. If I need a better drawing application, I'll pick up OmniGraffle or EazyDraw. AW can import Word and Excel documents with some limitations that have not been a hurdle for me. Your mileage probably varies, so I suggest looking at Office for Macintosh Student/Teacher Edition--your son's still a student, so you qualify, and it's licensed to install on three systems. ($132 at Amazon, which is dirt-cheap for Office.)
If you're unhappy with Safari, give Firefox a try (and check out the extensions!) On Windows, consider it a requirement.
Mac n00b advice
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