Pimsleur, the language method designed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur and now published by Simon and Schuster, is one of the most sought-after language tools for the independent language learner. It is also known for being quite expensive. If you paid retail price for 3 levels of Pimsleur Comprehensive, it would cost over $1000. But with a few little tricks, you can reduce that cost to you by a significant amount, and still get one of the best language methods.
Shop Around. Pimsleur prices can vary wildly. If you are willing to spend the time, you can probably find a more competitive price. There is no shortage of merchants selling Pimsleur language learning products on the internet.
Buy Used. There are lots of opportunities to buy stuff used. Don’t worry that if you are buying used that you are somehow not getting a product that’s as good as a new one. As long as it works – that’s all you really need.
Libraries. Public libraries often stock many language products. Besides books, they will sometimes have audio, video and software products as well, including Pimsleur. In addition, libraries can sometimes order a requested product from another library or they can purchase it from the publisher. I’ve heard of a few cases where people could access audio and software products from their home computer.
eBay. If you are comfortable using eBay, then you can easily find Pimsleur products for sale, but the price may vary considerably. You can use eBay to buy new or used Pimsleur products, but be sure you know what you are getting. I’ve bought Pimsleur products on eBay before without a hitch.
Resell. If you are so inclined, you can sell a product after using it to recoup at least some of your initial cost. You are also helping someone else get a quality Pimsleur product for a better price, so you get some bonus karma points for that!
Borrow or Barter. If you know someone who has the Pimsleur set you are looking for, maybe you can borrow it or trade for it, in part or total. It can save you both money.
Share the Cost. If you can group together with others learning the same language, you can share the cost of Pimsleur. There are other benefits of learning a language with another person such as speaking and practicing with each other, comparing notes and vocabulary etc.
There is little doubt that Pimsleurs conversational approach and focus on pronunciation can be a great benefit to someone learning a language. But it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to do it. You’d be better off with a private tutor. If you can use one or some of these ideas to help reduce the cost to yourself, you can get the benefits of learning a language with Pimsleur without putting yourself in the poorhouse.
by Ron Tichenor