I'm going to indoctrinate you to Pattern. My son flies a Diamante .32 and he has learned a lot about aerobatics from this plane. My son has been flying for about a year, but does compete occasionally. My son needs some local (District 2) competition from fellow Junior members!
For 3D training a Funtana .40 is a good tool. I have one as well, with a Saito .72 which assisted me in learning 3D to include harriers. If you are interested send me a PM. There is also an article I did for 3 steps for 3D at the Horizon Websitewill help you. I've also flown the Frenzy and its pretty cool.
Aside from that, if you want ultimate in economy but still 3D training, a 3D foamy does most of the real stuff and is quite a bit optimized for the challenge. I have flown the Vrolet from Fancy Foam, with E flight 250, and 2S Thunder Power battery, which has worked very well (I have not trashed one yet, after almost a year of flying them- they are remarkably durable).