When I got into this mad world of gurdyisms I too was concerned about paying out a lot of money for something I might not get the hang of. I bought a Morillo symphony from the early music shop for around £700 for a case which was the cheapest price I could find for an instrument. It allowed me to get the hang of cottoning the strings, tuning, and seeing how the thing worked. However, in my opinion and in the opinion of Neil Brook (these are opinions only if any lawyers are reading this!), the instrument wasn't up to much. I ended up selling it on after 9 months via the early music shop agency for £500. So that's £200 for 9 months use, or £22 a month which I don't think was too bad. (I did then go on to buy one of Neil's gurdys...)
BTW If you do buy new from the early music shop, I think they still do some sort of pay little by little at 0% scheme (funded by the Arts Council). However, from my own experience, I wouldn't recommend the Morillo in particular.
Andy Carter + Blue Hurdy
Pennine West Yorkshire