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Would I be foolish to get a credit card?

(15 Posts)
ShowOfHands Thu 14-Feb-13 10:41:04

We've never had a credit card. No loans apart from student loans, never defaulted on the mortgage.

I NEED to learn to drive and quickly. I've put it off and put it off and the situation has become untenable. I need to go back to work, dd needs running to school and I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with the cost and unreliability of rural bus services. Plus, having two small children and a dh who is often called away at a moment's notice, I feel a bit isolated.

I've had an introductory driving lesson, theory is booked. The instructor says he thinks I'd benefit from a couple of 2 hour lessons a week, maybe more once I get into it. I agree. I want it DONE. DH is also taking me out regularly. The problem is the cost. If I paid for 5x2hr lessons in one go, it would be £215, making the cost £21.50 per hour as opposed to £24 per hour. This is a good deal having compared all the local instructors. I just don't have £215 to pay out in one go.

If I got a 0% cc and paid £43 off every time I had a lesson (just about manageable, give or take), would this be a good way of doing it?

We do have an overdraft but the interest on it is astronomical.

The idea of a credit card has always terrified me, but can it be a good option if you pay it off quickly? I'd chuck it away as soon as I'd passed my test.

ShowOfHands Thu 14-Feb-13 10:42:49

I'm also selling everything I own btw. DC's baby stuff, wedding dress etc to try and afford driving lessons.

drownangels Thu 14-Feb-13 10:45:40

I view credit cards as a financial tool or resource. How you manage them is what makes them a good or bad thing.
I use mine and pay it off but by doing that it gives me a lot of consumer protection. I also use it for big purchases and collect Tesco points!

A credit card can work out cheaper than an overdraft!!

ShowOfHands Thu 14-Feb-13 10:49:40

Our overdraft is unusable and as such, we avoid ever dipping into it. It would cost a fortune.

It feels silly but I'm sort of proud of never having any real debt to speak of. But then we have a mortgage and we needed student loans to qualify for our jobs so it's not like I'm debt free really. I suppose I just see credit cards as a Bad Thing.

I actually can't think of an alternative though.

WowOoo Thu 14-Feb-13 10:51:28

You'd only be a fool not to use it carefully and if you're unlikely to pay it off every month.
Like drownangels says!

When we needed one we looked on Mneysaving Expert for advice on a good deal and it gave a summary of all the small print info.

It was great cutting it up to pieces after.

Can you get some lessons with a friend also in between proper lessons to get as much experience as you can? Or would you rather do it with a pro and stick to one car?
Good luck with the lessons anyway.

I've just got my first credit card, mostly for work expenses since an incident recently when I unexpectedly ended up spending my last £50 for the month (which I had carefully budgeted to last the week) on lunch for a client. hmm I also wanted to increase my credit rating and have extra protection on large purchases like holidays.

Like you, I've always avoided owning one and have been skeptical about the need for it. I have set up a direct debit to pay the full amount on mine every month (after work have reimbursed me for my expenses). I don't treat it as 'free money' and know that I can (and will) pay everything back.

I think it seems like a good idea, provided you don't start putting things on it that you can't afford to pay off. I don't think credit cards necessarily have to equal huge interest and debt if you're sensible - and it sounds like you are!

ShowOfHands Thu 14-Feb-13 10:56:22

I am very clear that it would NOT be my money. It would be a stop gap, one I dispensed with asap.

I do go out with dh a lot. It was my first proper lesson with a professional this week but he was fairly surprised that I could actually drive a bit. We did a turn in the road and dual carriageways, plus some parking stuff and crossroads so the practice with dh must have helped a bit. I hate it though. All of it. I feel so silly and small and young and terrified.

LadyKooKoo Thu 14-Feb-13 11:23:02

I think you sound really sensible and for something like driving lessons, I think this is a 'good' reason to get one. I grew up in a rural area and I am well aware of the unreliability of public transport so I agree, you need to be able to drive. I would apply for one (after being on money saving expert as advised) and see what you get, it could be they give you a credit limit of £300 which will be perfect but if they go crazy (possible as credit card companies want you to spend) and give you a limit of £3000 then just call them up and ask them to reduce it. Happy driving!

specialsubject Thu 14-Feb-13 13:04:57

credit cards are a financial tool, and are perfectly ok as long as you either pay off the full balance every month, or have an 0% deal (which will only be for a while). What you plan will save your money, seems reasonable.

before you do this - do you know what your insurance will cost? As you are not a 17 year old male it won't be astronomical, but you would be wise to price up the big cost of driving.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 14:40:38

Like others I'd say go for it. Keep a really careful account of every time you use the card, set it up to pay off the full balance by Direct Debit each month and go for one that offers cashback or some other incentive so that you benefit from being a responsible user of credit. They're very handy for internet purchases, safer than carrying lots of cash, you get some payment protection and, managed correctly, your credit rating benefits.

notcitrus Thu 14-Feb-13 14:50:28

Credit cards are really useful for the consumer protection. About 6 times I've had problems getting refunds or items supplied, and each time I've phoned the credit card company and ended up with a refund within a week, sometimes while still on the phone.

The only reason not to have one is if you don't trust yourself not to spend more than you can pay each month, or will pay back less than necessary if you use the loan facility.

I put all my monthly spending on it where possible, so it shows up really clearly where our money has gone.

Good luck with the driving lessons!

ShowOfHands Thu 14-Feb-13 17:14:14

Thanks for your responses. I am still worried about it but it's just the idea of owing money really. It's a necessary evil.

My insurance premium will go up a small amount when I pass my test. I've been paying a learner's premium for a while and the added cost to being a full driver won't exceed what I'm paying in monthly bus payments for me and dd. Practically and financially, driving is the right decision. I can't go back to work until I drive as there are no jobs immediately local to me. I can't get ds to any kind of childcare and getting dd to school 4 miles away is getting increasingly difficult.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 17:21:31

Debt is only evil when you take it on thoughtlessly or recklessly. As long as you're sensible, well-informed and have a realistic plan for paying it off, it's a good thing. Millions would not be able to own their own home without a mortgage. Small businesses wouldn't be able to get off the ground without money to start up. Your driving lessons are an investment in your future... quality of life, job prospects, etc.... so that is a good use of short-term debt.

WowOoo Thu 14-Feb-13 17:52:08

But in the future you won't feel silly and small and terrified.
You'll feel free and safer and confident and so happy.You'll have private space and can listen to music or whatever....and also fill the car with dc's crap.

It sounds like you're pretty good already. It's going to be so much better too.smile
This is the kind of thing that a credit card is good for.

Skinnywhippet Mon 18-Feb-13 13:52:55

Will you actually be able to afford a car, tax and insurance once passed? If not, is it really worth rushing to get it done? I learnt to drive over the. Course of 8 months and had a 1.5 hour lesson each week. Spreading the cost might mean you are in a better financial position to buy car when you need it. also, not all driving instructors will accept a credit card as payment.

I have no problem with using a credit card, but am trying to think over the other aspects for you.

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