Monday, September 28, 2009

Update On Studies Or How to Learn a Language on a Shoestring Budget

Hello everyone.

Long time no post. I have a lot of new followers coming in from Blogged and I would like to extend a warm welcome out to them. I have been really studying Japanese hard so I can pass the JLPT test. From the preparation, I will definitely pass when I go to San Francisco on December 6th. There really is not much I really wish to go over other than methods to studying a subject or booking a flight with the least amount of money possible.

How to Study a Language on a Shoestring Budget

For those of you new to this blog I go over effective ways to stretch the devalued dollar and ways to valuate you own worth. And what better way to to pick up linguistic skills than through a show string budget? There is low start up costs, you can make connections with people from other countries and more importantly, you can enrich yourself with another culture.

To be to study a language with low start up cost, I would first try sift through books with good teaching pedagogy or method. Since I am familiar with the Japanese language, I am going to use this language as a model. When I started learning the language I spent years using ineffective books for self study and only after I cam back from Okinawa did I realize this. Do not get me wrong, I can communicate just fine, but I felt I would have been that much better if I had access to the most effective materials possible. Fortunately, information technology in languages has improved drastically since I have started to study Japanese. One such method is to study for free using This site allows you to access your language skills and you can go through and find which class suits your level, or better yet, do language exchange from a native speaker for free! I recommend this method over going to a chat rooms mainly because people just tend to goof off in chat rooms and they are just their to either find dates, talk, or hook up with other chatters. Although if you are trying to find a girl/boy friend in the language you are studying that is a good way to do so (assuming you are in that country or she/he is near you).

If you are looking for a way to study a language that is at the rate your willing to pay within your budget guide lines, then you might want to try which is an online Japanese language school. You can even take classes by the lesson using lesson tickets! Using lesson tickets could aide you in maintaining your fixed allocated budget that I talked about in the Frugality 101 special. (This method of proposed learning is actually coined the "edupunk" movement. The "edupunk" movement is a self taught or online taught method where everything that involved learning is done through the Internet. It is counter culture against the traditional scholastic environment because you can avoid classes that you do not need and only study the ones you are interested in.) A more pricier way to learn a language through the computer is Rosetta Stone which I do not recommend towards an Asian language mainly because the writing is intense and a necessity towards learning Chinese and Japanese characters. For Romance and Germanic languages however, Rosetta Stone would be good because the character set in English shares the same set those language families, save a few extra intonation marks.

If classes are not for you, there is the old school auto-deictic method, which involves simply buying books and studying out of them. For Japanese, I have a list that I cycle through. Which is Japanese for Everyone, 250 Essential Kanji books 1 and 2, Basic Kanji 250 books 1-4, and Shin Nihongo no Chuukyuu (basically it is, true Japanese of Intermediate Level) just to name a few. For learners of Japanese, a good page to order materials whether it be for the JLPT or just for learning is You can also see rating from people who are really serious about learning the language instead of buying something from vote bots' opinions. Another good site is They are a little more expensive than Japanshop, but they have different materials sold there along with Mangas and DVDs. They should also have a kids mirror site as well for minors to browse. There is also the mainstream shops as well, but one that is a bit off the beaten path is, which has some rare or hard to get books. Again, I am just using the information I have gathered from studying Japanese to make this article. For other languages, I would say the best thing to do is pick the country that supports the language you are studying and find an intensive language school. Then try to find their language materials used in the classes and order some of them if they have decent reviews. Search engines are your friend in this approach. That is how I found out about the sites I frequent above. If you are in luck and now someone who has studied abroad, try asking them for their old text books' titles or maybe negotiate a price for the ones they no longer use.

How to Plan a Trip on a Shoestring

1. Plan in ADVANCE!- The more you procrastinate, the higher your itinerary will be.

2. SET a budget- Try to set a dollar amount based off of how much you have saved. If you plan on trying to go away somewhere for a couple of weeks, obviously you need to do some cut backs in your household to compensate for your idleness.

3. Do not go to a hotel based on star ratings- I have been in 3 star hotels and 5 star hotels. Honestly the more you spend on having everything in your room, the more money you will lose in the long run. Read the reviews of the hotel you are trying to reserve at. There is no need to reserve at the Taj Mahal for a week if there is no real plans going down for that reservation. (i.e. Sight seeing) If you are going to be out and about the whole trip getting a 5 star is an utter waste of money. The way I see it is while you are entitled to treat yourself, you also need to treat your money well. Your account will feel it later.

4. Take the least amount of stuff possible- Self explanatory. Do not take 5 bags on an airplane that dings you $70 per bag. That is just stupid. If you need certain things, then take them. If you have to pay for one bag, so be it. Just do not go buck wild and take the kitchen sink.

5. If you have connections use them- If you know someone who can board you up or are part of an organization that will give you an automatic discount, then use what you were given. It is called synergy. People are more productive if they work together with the same goals in mind. Just make sure the person you are going with can handle their fair share of the travel expenses.

This sums up my writing itch. Sorry folks, back to writing hiatus! I need to pass my test.