Si, Hablo Espanol…and a Roundup

Si, Hablo Espano - picture of white man sitting at laptop with headphones on

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Remember when you were in high school and you had to take a foreign language in order to graduate? Back then, I was probably what you would call the typical American kid. I was concerned about what was going on in my little world, sports, and trying to impress the girls around me. That was about it. I was a good student, and I did well in all of my classes – including Spanish. However, I put in my required two years of study and let (almost) everything I learned slowly seep out of my brain to make room for other important things – like baseball stats.

Hindsight is 20/20

Fast forward a decade and a half, and I really wish that I had continued on with my foreign language education. Why, you ask? Well, first of all it is pretty cool to be able to communicate with others across the world. Secondly, now that I’ve grown up, I’ve discovered that I like to travel. However, traveling to different countries can present some challenges, especially if you don’t speak the language. Knowing the language also helps you understand the culture. So, I’ve decided that I’m going to get back on the horse and learn a few different languages.

I would love to learn several different languages, however I decided that I would start with Spanish. There are a ton of different countries that I would like to travel to that speak Spanish, plus there are a lot of Spanish speakers here in the U.S. Besides that, I still remember some of the basics (including pronunciations), so I thought this would be a great place to start.

Learning Spanish on the Cheap

There are a ton of different resources that are out there – both paid and free – to help people like me learn a different language. Being the cheap ass frugal freak that I am, I decided to start out with the free versions – obvi. First, I checked out our public library and found that they have an online program called “Mango Languages.” This program is especially designed for those who want to be able to speak the language. Holly also pointed me to a new online program called Duolingo. It is pretty sweet. It uses pictures, words, and sounds to help you learn how to both speak and write the language. It even has an android app that Holly downloaded onto her Republic Wireless smartphone.  Since we’re going to travel to Mexico with friends next month, Holly is mainly interested in learning key words like “coffee,” “vegetarian,” and “bathroom.”  She’s also adamant about learning how to order all of her favorite alcoholic drinks.  (SPOILER ALERT: There are a lot of them)  I’m more interested in learning how to speak conversational Spanish so I’ve decided to try to become as fluent as possible. After only a few days, I already feel relatively comfortable speaking the language. Hablo espanol umpocito!

Anyhoo, let’s get to some of the best posts of the week!

Nick at asks whether he should start monetizing his blog.  Umm…….yeah.

Suburban Finance talks about how you can earn a degree without going into debt.

Mom and Dad Money talked about how a coffee habit can be detrimental.

Jacob at Iheartbudgets wrote something awesome.  I’m too lazy to look up what it was.  You’ll just have to trust me.

Michelle at Making Sense of Cents wrote about her wedding budget.

The Happy Homeowner shared some news about selling her condo.

Luke 1428 wrote about health, wealth, and moments of clarity.

Budget Blonde wrote about how to save for a new car.

We hope that everyone has a bitchin’ weekend.  We’ve got an overnight babysitter on Saturday night so we’re hoping to do something awesome!  How about you?  What are your plans this weekend?

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  1. Thanks for the shout out guys! I was always terrible at learning languages. My brother-in-law’s been learning spanish for over a year now and has gotten pretty fluent. He found someone, I think on craiglist, to give him private lessons where they basically just video chat in spanish. According to him that’s really helped, and was pretty cheap. Good luck.

  2. Ha! I did NOT do well in Spanish in high school. Now, like you, I wish I would have paid attention better!! I’d love to get back into learning it someday. Also, thanks for the link, Greg! 😀

  3. I took Spanish all throughout grade school and high school, as well as in college but somehow I can’t remember much of it at all : ( I have debated trying to learn but realized I just don’t have the time (or drive) to do it at this time. Good luck learning!

  4. I know enough Spanish to get myself in trouble. I can pretty much read anything in Spanish (or at least get the gist of it), but my listening comprehension and my actual speaking proficiency are appalling.

    Duolingo is pretty solid. I am using it to learn German right now. Of course it helps my wife is fluent (she would never admit to it) and I can practice with her. After that I might try to bone up on my Spanish.

    We both took a few classes in Arabic, since her dad is stuck working in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for the foreseeable future. Now that is a tough language to learn. The most difficult part for me was the reading right to left. I just can’t get the hang of that part. The good news is I can pretty much parrot back whatever the tutor was saying!

    Have fun in Mexico! We were just in Cabo a couple months back and it was a blast (it was our little guys first international trip).

    1. The Duolingo app is awesome. I can do it on my phone at any time from anywhere. Greg’s going to have to get a new phone too and he’s definitely going to download it as well!

      I can’t imagine reading right to left! That’s crazy!

      We almost went to Cabo….it was so hard to pick! Since this was a last minute trip, our final choice was based mostly on price. We’re going to Playa del Carmen and it’s only $800 per person all-inclusive including flights!! For a week! We’re leaving the kids at home since we’re going with friends.

  5. I took German for 8 years and am still kicking myself for letting it go the way I did. I really should pick it back up as I do not think it would take much to relearn it. Sounds like a fun weekend, I am going to try and force myself to detach from the computer a little this weekend and actually enjoy Father’s Day. 😉 Have a great weekend!

  6. I remember Spanish classes for those two years. I passed the class but cant remember anything after that. I don’t travel a lot but now live in South Florida and boy Spanish would be great to know right now. Probably should get on learning a second language especially since we plan on moving abroad in a few years.

  7. I think being fluent in multiple languages is a great skill to have! I speak both French and English, since the population in my province is 50/50 anglophone/francophone, and it came in SO handy when I visited France a few years ago. Also, once you a second language, the third and fourth come easier.

    Have fun on your night out! This weekend I’m having my bachelorette party, and I’m so, freaking, excited!

  8. I have been on a work training course this week and my trainer is from China. I have been getting him to teach me a few Chinese words at the start of each lesson. It has been pretty fun so far.
    I can say hello, goodbye, thank you and give me all your money.

  9. Knowing another language is great. I did well in Spanish class, but the way they teach it is not as practical. I think it is best to learn it by practicing and conversing with others. I lived in Mexico for a month and while I probably wasn’t speaking grammatically correct…they understood me and I understood them when they spoke slowly.
    Mi esposa es china pero nacio y crecio en Honduras. She is trilingual, I’m bilingual…and we’re hoping to raise trilingual kids…we’ll see how that goes…

    1. @Andrew — Immersion is the way I think! I’m planning a 6 week trip to Guatemala this summer and plan to attend language school for 4 weeks solid!

  10. Another great site is Live Mocha – you’re able to speak and write in Spanish, and native speakers correct it for you. In turn, you just correct people trying to learn English.

  11. I have always regretted not learning Spanish. You’d think it would be practically mandatory living in SoCal, given the number of spanish-speaking people who live here. 🙂 Have a great Father’s Day, Greg!

  12. I took five years of Italian and it just went out the window as soon as I graduated high school. I tried getting into Spanish about a year ago using Duolingo, but I couldn’t find the time/motivation to continue much past a week. It’s a great tool though! Being able to speak multiple languages is a great asset to have, especially when some jobs require it (at least where I live). Gives you a slight bump above the competition. Good luck in re-learning it! Sounds like you have a fun trip planned.

  13. I took Spanish in college and through the school district and need to practice much more. I am lucky that I have students I can practice on, but first I need to over come some of my mispronunciation. I think practice will help!

  14. I seek out language exchanges. We’ll meet for an hour and alternate speaking entirely in English for 15 minutes then speaking entirely in Spanish for 15 minutes. It’s free for both parties and you get a native speaker’s accent 🙂

  15. Sounds like a fun weekend ahead! I took 4 years of spanish in high school and then a few semesters in college and I still barely remember any of it. When we go on vacation to a spanish speaking country it slowly comes back to me, but it takes awhile. I wouldn’t mind brushing up on those skills and trying to learn some new ones as well.

  16. Thanks for the mention!! You guys are on fire lately! I, also, want to get back to learning my Spanish, but have no idea when I’ll be able to. I might need to get a job again so I have some free time!

  17. Nick @ says:

    I did the same thing with my Spanish training, D’oh! I’m hoping to enroll my daughter in a dual-immersion school from grade school on, so hopefully she won’t have that problem!

    1. Our two oldest children are in a Chinese dual immersion program and our doing well. Our youngest is 4 and currently in a Spanish preschool but he will move over to Chinese dual immersion in first grade. 3 hrs./day of language immersion makes a big difference. I am trying to brush up on my Spanish (5 yrs. in school) but I am light years behind my 4 yr. old.

      We are actually saving for 6 wk language immersion experiences in the next few years. (Costa Rica next summer and China a few years later). I think that will be the key to making the language stick.

      Dual-immersion is worth it!

  18. Ken Griffey Jr. was born in Donora, PA on November 21, 1969. He was on pace to break Roger Maris’ HR record before the 1994 season got cut short.

    And I have no idea how to even greet someone in French after 3 years of it in high school.

  19. Don’t worry about not following through with the language learning in school. I did for French and German, but because I didn’t actively practice them, I’ve forgotten so much.

    Learning later in life works great, provided you’ll be practicing it with lots of that fun travel!

  20. cool project, have fun rolling the “r”s in vegetariano! I bet it is much more fun with a trip in mind than in high school. I always loved language lessons in high school, a full hour of daydreaming about where I would go practice that language.

  21. I know exactly what you mean. First I wish I would have studied French instead of Spanish because I think it’s a beautiful language, and secondly I wish I would have learned early and continued studying later.

  22. Thank you so much for the mention! I took Spanish in college and barely passed. Language is not a skill of mine.

  23. That should be un poquito

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