How To Buy At A Pawn Shop | Best Tips

If you have ever shopped at a pawn shop, one of the things you will notice is that it saves you a lot of money buying stuff from them than getting them new. While it is great if you can afford brand-new things, knowing how to buy at a pawn shop can be a great benefit to you, especially if you want to save money.

The world of the pawnshop has changed. It’s not a shady little shop to be ashamed of. Think of it as a preferred bargain store where you can get great deals.

From books to outfits to electronics, retail stores often charge hundreds of dollars to be the first to own an item. But why should you pay a premium on items that you use once and leave on a shelf?

You can save yourself hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, over the course of a year, if you patronize the pawn shop when you wish to purchase certain things, especially things you won’t need for a long period of time.

What Does “Pawning” Mean?

“Pawning” means that you give an item to the pawn shop for a cash loan. For example, you could give them your bike as collateral for a $75 loan.

If you repay the loan by a certain date, usually 90 to 120 days after you mortgaged the item, you will be able to collect your bike.  If you do not repay the money on time, the pawn shop will take over the bike and offer it for resale.

Working with pawn shops can be good business for both a seller and a buyer, but not always. Below are some tips on selling and buying at a pawn shop.

How Does Pawn Shop Work?

Many people are unsure how pawnbrokers get their inventory or if they need to return items bought there if the original owner wants them back. In reality, however, the items for sale in pawn shops are usually second-hand items that you would like to find in a thrift store, but often of greater value.

How To Sell To A Pawn Shop

#1. Find the right pawn shop

Do some research online to see what others have said about working with pawn shops in the area. Then choose a reputable shop and broker that you are comfortable with.

Also, note that some pawn shops specialize in certain items. For example, if you have an antique, look for a pawn shop that has experience buying and selling antiques.

#2. Know whether you want to mortgage or sell

Pawnshops give you a choice, so do research on the options and know the ups and downs of each before you go in.

The decision should be based on a number of factors, including your ability to repay a loan and the value you are putting on the item that you are mortgaging or selling.

#3. Negotiate

Understand that pawn shop owners are resellers, not collectors. Just because a collector values ​​your vintage vinyl at $100 doesn’t mean you can get it from a pawnbroker. Set a minimum price in advance so that you don’t make a quick decision that you will regret later.

#4. Be ready to prove your claims

For example, if you are bringing a piece of valuable jewelry with you, have a professional jeweler write you a review so you can prove the jewelry’s worth. If the item is battery-powered, make sure it has fresh batteries so you can show it is working. Bringing items in their original packaging is always helpful.

#5. Show things in their best light

A layer of dust can be useful on an antique, but not on your printer. Imagine buying the item – what should it look like?

#6. Pay on time

When you pawn an item for a loan, you must repay the loan plus interest and fees on time and as agreed. If you fail to do this, you will forfeit your item or renew the loan, which will incur additional costs.

How to Buy from a Pawn Shop

#1. Research

It doesn’t matter what an item costs when it’s new. Some things are worth much more than others. Before purchasing, do some research on the value of an item as it is.

#2. Negotiate

Every item has a price, but the sticker price should only be used as a starting point. Pawnbrokers have a lot of experience in negotiating. So, make sure you have a limit in mind before you start negotiating.

Also, understand that, in general, the longer something stays in business, the more willing the pawnbroker is to lower the price.

#3. Read the fine print

Some pawn shops offer guarantees of authenticity, and some don’t. Some have mild return policies, while others say, “All sales are final.” The guidelines can be very different. So read the guidelines carefully.

#4. Pay with cash

The pawnbroker is more likely to accept your offer if you pay with cash. Paying with cash will ensure that you don’t exceed your set limit and that you don’t incur any credit card debt.

What can you buy in a pawn shop?

Pawn shops sell almost anything these days, depending on the business. But what should you buy in a pawn shop?


Tools for home improvement projects, woodworking, and other projects are expensive. Check your local pawn shop before buying new ones. The prices offered are usually significantly lower than what you will pay for the new one.

Some ideas for tools you might find in a pawn shop are:

  • Drills
  • Tool kits
  • Basic tools such as wrenches, hammers, and screwdrivers
  • Hand and power saws
  • Table saws and other larger tools

The selection of tools – especially in larger pawn shops – is often quite large. Reputable pawn shops usually test this stuff before picking it up, but you should check it out yourself.

Musical instruments

If you’ve ever thought about buying a musical instrument, you know how expensive it can be new. Is it worth spending hundreds of dollars – or even thousands of dollars – on an instrument that your child may only use occasionally?

Instead, take advantage of other parents who made this mistake and purchase your musical instruments from the local pawn shop. Guitars, violins, drums and drums, flutes – pawn brokers who sell musical instruments have it all.


Pawnbrokers often specialize in jewelry. Because people love jewelry and love getting offers for it even more.

Choose your piece of jewelry; You’ll likely find it in a pawn shop somewhere. Note that some pawn shops only have jewelry departments while others only sell jewelry.

Check out both types of pawn shops and do some comparative shopping before you buy. Also, ask for a certificate of authenticity when purchasing gemstones.


Firearms are another hot item that you can buy from a pawn shop. If you are a hunter, you can find a wide selection of rifles and shotguns at local pawn shops. If you want something to protect your home, pawnbrokers often carry handguns as well.


Are you a movie fan Well, you won’t find a better deal on movies than at your local pawn shop. From action to drama to comedy and more, pawnbrokers usually have a pretty large selection of movies.

It’s not uncommon to find DVDs at your local pawn shop for $1 and $2 each. That’s less than half the cost of a cheap DVD tray in most major stores.


Some stores may be breaking this practice for gift season, so it doesn’t hurt to double-check. Bike purchases at pawn shops can be especially lucrative if you’re looking for a high-end bike brand.

Be sure to examine the bike thoroughly. Ride around outside if you allow and check gears, brakes, tires, etc. However, in most cases, tires can be swapped out easily on bikes.

If you’re looking for a bike as a gift, a pawn shop might be a great place to get a bike in mint condition for a fraction of the cost of the new one.

Cell phones and other personal electronic items

Personal electronics are also popular in pawn shops. In local stores, you can find items like:

  • Cell phones
  • tablets
  • iPads
  • Personal computers

When purchasing these types of items from pawn shops, make sure you are working with a reputable store. Ask about guidelines for personal electronics warranties. Try the item in the store if you can.

Game systems

Gaming systems are often found in pawn shops as they are one of the first things people get rid of when they need cash. When you buy gaming systems from a pawn shop, you can usually make decent savings.

However, don’t expect a great deal. You only get half the retail price if the system is in a harsh condition. Instead, look for systems in great shape and save 10%, 20%, or more.

Video games

Pawnbrokers sell game systems – and the video games that go with them. You can get discounted video games at a pawn shop and still have the same fun you would go with a new game.

However, when purchasing used video games, it is important to check the disc for scratches. Some scratches usually don’t affect the quality as long as they’re not too deep. However, if a game disc has a lot of scratches or deep scratches, you may want to give it away.


While antique stores are often overpriced, pawn shops are not necessarily interested in making the highest dollar on antiques.

Pawn brokers don’t usually specialize in antiques. They just want to make money. In addition, many employees of the pawn shop do not know the value of antique objects. Because of this, antiques may be cheaper than what they’re worth or what you could resell them for.

Collective coins and currency

You may find a great deal on collectible coins and bills at a local pawn shop. Not all pawn shops carry collectible coins and bills, but many do.

It is important to note that when purchasing collectibles of any kind from a pawn shop, you know your prices. Many online sources and books can help you determine the real value of your collector’s coin or other items.

When shopping, prepare for a research catalog or website address to make sure you don’t overpay when buying collector coins from a pawn shop.

Small appliances

Small appliances like blenders and toasters can be a great find in a pawn shop.

Gift cards

Some pawn shops sell gift cards to various restaurants and shops. You buy gift cards from consumers at a high discount and then sell them on to people like you for a profit.

You probably won’t get a huge discount on gift cards that you find in pawn shops. However, you may be able to get around a 10% discount when buying gift cards from pawn shops. And when you’re trying to save money, it all adds up.


Whether you are a seller or a buyer, it is worth exploring your other options before you go to the pawn shop. While working with a pawn shop can be convenient, you can potentially get a better deal on Craigslist, eBay, or even a garage sale.

Editor’s Recommendations


Leave a Reply
You May Also Like