Learning to speak a new language requires a significant amount of time and dedication, but it doesn't need to cost a fortune. Many computer programs like Rosetta Stone promise to make you fluent quickly, but those programs generally cost hundreds of dollars. It may be a little more difficult to learn French without a preset program, but if you take advantage of the various free materials available online and in your community, you will be ordering an espresso in a Parisian café in no time.
Visit a website such as Bonjour.com, Lsfrench.com or Frenchassistant.com. These websites offer free online French lessons with recordings of real French speakers. Many have games to make the process more enjoyable.
Download free podcasts from iTunes. Freelanguage.org and Learnoutloud.com both offer podcasts that teach French for free.
Devote at least 30 minutes per day to looking at your selected website or listening to your chosen podcast (or both). The more time you devote to studying, the faster you will learn.
Look for a French conversation group in your community once you have learned the basics. You may not be able to speak as well as everyone else, but hearing others speak will help you learn more quickly. Alternatively, try to find a French speaker in your community who will answer questions or help with your pronunciation. If you ask for tutoring, you may have to pay, but if you simply ask for a conversation buddy, you may be able to simply meet for free. French teachers at a high school or college are good starting points for finding these conversation buddies.
Watch French movies or television shows and check out French books from the library. The more authentic French you expose yourself to, the better you will be able to speak and understand the language in a real-life setting.