If I purchase a negative scanner the film still has to be processed before scanning right? If so, will retail stores like Walmart or Calagaz develop the film without making prints. Will this be cheaper? I use film but I don't have a darkroom set up so I just send them in to be developed. This is getting more expensive as I am taking more and more pictures. Ill go through many, many rolls just learning about shutter speed and aperture. I need to find a way to save money so I thought if the processing fees are cheaper a scanner would be a good investment. Thanks for your help. :D
Yes, the film still has to be processed.
The cost to print 4x6 prints is a very small part of the cost of processing negatives. You will still need to buy film and pay for the negatives to be processed. If stores offer a lower price for developing (but not printing) the amount you save will be trivial.
You need a special scanner to get good images from negatives. The typical consumer scanner used for scanning documents is not nearly good enough. You need one that can scan at 6000 dpi or higher.
Any dust or dirt on the negative or the scanner will be greatly magnified in the scanned image. It's very difficult to get a completely clean scan from a negative. So you need A) to take extra care in scanning and then B) use special software to hlep you get rid of the dust and dirt marks in the scanned image.
Save your money, and buy a cheap digital camera (that allows you to have manual control over the exposure and focus) so that you can get immediate feedback about your exposure settings. Once you have the exposure and other settings correct, then take one shot with the film camera, knowing that the one shot will be exactly how you want it to be. This will save you money on film, processing, developing.