If your goal is to learn about the French language, but you lack sufficient funds for classes to become an expert speaker, you have options. The best way to learn French for free is to spend a lot of time at your local library. There also exist cultural organizations that offer free access to learning resources like books and magazines. If you learn particularly well through being social, you should also pursue conversations with people who possess some mastery of the language.
Visit the Library
Develop a learning schedule. Most public libraries house many books on French for beginners. An effective way to learn the language is to make lists of expressions that you commonly use in English. Then refer to English-French dictionaries to learn new French vocabulary. Next, conjugate common verbs repeatedly until you can do so without consulting a book. After you become comfortable with regular verbs, you can begin conjugating irregular verbs.
Speak to French Speakers
Another effective way to learn French is to talk with people who speak the language. Do you have any friends who know even a little French? Ask them to teach you some words. If you don't know any French speakers, search for language groups online (for example, on popular networking websites like meetup.com), and set up appointments for conversing. Even if these conversations are not complex, you will learn a great deal simply by speaking regularly.
National organizations like Alliances Francaise USA are helpful for beginning speakers, and they have chapters in many major cities. Visiting such centers is helpful because you gain immediate access to a small culture of French speakers. Though you can pay for courses or membership, you need not become a member to visit the library and search materials while you're at a facility. As with visiting a general public library, developing a schedule for regular study at the Alliances comes in handy.
With access to the Internet, you can further your ability to pick up the French language by consulting sound or visual media. Listening to French music (for example, on multilingualbooks.com) or cruising around on an English-French dictionary online (WordReference.com) can hone your French visual and auditory skills. Listen and look for similarities between English and French words and phrases, and write down these similarities. Then, to make sense of these parallels, look them up later in one of your reference books. Bear in mind that picking up a language is a gradual process, so be patient and have fun.