The proper way to study Kabbalah is with prior knowledge of Tanach, Talmud, Yad HaChazaka, and Shulchan Aruch (not including the introduction books to Kabbalah- some of the Ben Ish Hai's books, some of the Ramak, a lot of Rav Ashlag, and Rav Frisch). Without a massive knowledge of the aforementioned, Kabbalah won't do you any good, quite the contrary it can confuse your belief system. For example if someone doesn't know that the Eser Sefirot are not divisions of Qudsha Berich Hu, rather something else (which seems too deep for this site), they may actually be going against the core beliefs of Judaism.
Another problem is, you must have a teacher to teach you, and not a scam artist.(BN) I teach someone on Sundays. You may be able to find a Kabbalist to teach you on the weekends. Then there is an issue with age- according to mainstream ashkenazic Judaism (and some Sephardic) you must 40 years old to learn Kabbala (Shach Y"D 246:6. Or Lesion Musar, Torah ch. 7). Here are some tips to start learning on a low budget(so far)! (in order):
- Go to Chabad.org and learn Tanach with in English with Rashi 2/3 chapters a day, you will finish in a few years.
- Go to Chabad.org and start learning the Rambam's Mishne Torah. If you do 1 chapter a day, you will finish in about 3 years. If you do 3 chapters a day you will finish in 1 year. Whichever way you like.
- Go to dailygemara.com or dafyomi.org or some dafyomi site and start learning a little Talmud.
- By now, you will have a solid foundation, to start learning Halacha BeIyun and Gemara BeIyun. If you can read Hebrew, at Hebrewbooks.org you will find an entire set of Mishna Berura, and other poskim. If you are ashkenaz, I highly recommend Mishna Berura (they also have in English), and if you Sephardic I highly recommend Yalkut Yosef (they already have more than 15 volumes in English). Then you will learn 2/3 simanim in each if day for a few years and eventually you will be a Halachic expert.
- Next, you must read the Shulhan Aruch HaAri discussing the Halachot and Minhagim of the Ari. You can finish that book in a few months.
- Now You can start to learn the INTRODUCTORY books of Rav Ashlag, Ben Ish Hai, Rav Yaakov Hilel, Rav Frisch etc. You must become and expert in the concepts of the Kabbalah before starting to learn.
- After hard work, you have arrived at the point where you purchase the Kitve HaAri (the Rashash warned against other Kabbalists books, you may only learn Kabbalah from here and the Zohar according the Rashash) and the Zohar with Or HaYakar. Now you are able to start learning Kabbalah with a teacher, and with all your prior knowledge from the other books I listed you will know who is real and who is fake.
IN SUMMARY: After about 7-13 years of in-depth study of Judaism etc. you can begin your journey to Kabbalah.
Also, you must keep in mind the 10 do and 10 don't do at the beginning in Es Haim (5b I believe).