If you decide to learn microcontrollers you always need a real board to test programs in reality. Using development boards rather than simulators is more exciting as you can see really working results…or not:). Tahan Prahara have developed simple cheap AT89Sxx development board that every beginner can build for learning assembly or C language programming.
Board can be equipped with one of 40pin MSC-51 series microcontrollers: 89S51, 89S52 or 89S53. S letter means that these microcontrollers are ISP programmable. Board schematic is simple as it has plain 32 GPIO pins available including serial port communication TxD and RxD pins. It is powered via simple 5V voltage regulator circuit. ISP programming adapter probably is the lowest budget. Personally me – I wouldn’t recommend to use it without additional protection circuitry like 74HC244 buffering. But anyway this also works ok if there is no power problems. PCB is single side and easy to build by using any methods you use at home including Laser printer toner transfer or ultraviolet exposing.