So you are planning to learn a new language…Exciting! Language learning does not have to be expensive. This is my guide to language learning on a budget.
First things first invest in a journal/notebook/ Loose paper file. Whatever works for you. I picked up a rather nice looking notebook with tabs for only £2.00!!! The first few pages are where you can plan a budget for language learning. Check out this post on how to use a journal for language learning.
What?, Why?, When?, How?
What language are you learning and why are you learning the languages? Believe it or not, the answers to these questions could impact on the budget. Pick a start date and plan for how many weeks or months you plan to study? What is the end goal? What do you hope to achieve?
I am learning Spanish for 3 months starting October 2016 and by Christmas, I plan to have a basic 10-15 minute conversation in Spanish. I will achieve this by choosing a different topic each week and focus on adding 10 – 20 new words per day.
Make the most of the FREE trials!!!
So if you also plan for 3 months think about the resources you are going to use. There are lots of resources available and some are FREE or offer a free trial from anything from 7 days to a whole month. Take advantage of these offers. Often the free trials give you a good grasp of the basics but make sure you go to a reliable website.
Invest in a good tutor or two
Language exchanges are great and have a lot of benefits. They can help you get speaking from day 1. However from personal experiences budgeting early on for a tutor on Italki is very beneficial. Tutors can vary in price, but they are a good investment. Community tutors are often cheaper than professional tutors. I currently have both for learning Mandarin. I bought about 700 credits costing around £65 and this will last a couple of months for me. The lessons tend to work out cheaper the more credits you buy. I also have a few language exchange buddies that I chat too in between sessions that help with any language homework.
Make use of apps (especially FREE ones)
I love Duolingo and this can be a great and fun way of learning a language, but this should be used in conjunction with other resources. The tiny cards app, by Duolingo, is also great. For Mandarin, I used the Hello Chinese app, which is very similar to the style of Duolingo.
I have been making great use of libraries since learning a language and it is also a great way of testing out books before you buy. Don’t forget most libraries have gone digital now so you can get books out on a kindle or use a special reader up on the PC.
Invest in Motivation
I don’t just invest in language learning equipment, but I invest in my motivation too. I just completed the #add1challenge and I am currently taking part in #SULP. These challenges really help to boost my motivation levels and kept me going when I felt I have hit a wall. It is a very positive environment and I feel that is very important when you are learning a new language. Also, don’t forget to apply soft skills when learning a language, it’s not all about grammar books and Italki tutorials!
Check out any local learning groups in your areas. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in my local area so I had to create one! These groups are often free or have only a small charge, but it is better to learn a language with others rather than on your own.
I will be adding some more cost-saving ideas shortly, but please share your ideas in the comments section below or on my Twitter or Facebook page, thank you.
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Want to be more positively productive in your language learning? Check out the Positively Productive Project