How To Buy From A Pawn Shop
If you're concerned about saving money when you shop, you've probably ventured in to a few local thrift stores. Although the stereotypical pawn shop isn't as friendly-looking as your neighborhood Salvation Army, these stores often hold many unseen treasures that might be just what you're looking for—and at a fraction of the price. Before you shell out the money for a brand new item, check out a pawn shop near you. Don't be intimidated; just make sure you do your pawn shop research beforehand, and your wallet will thank you later.
Inspect Everything Before You Buy.
The easiest way to waste money in a pawn shop is to buy something broken or non-functional. Before you buy anything—no matter much of a tempting bargain—remember to thoroughly check the its condition. Inspect your item to see how old it is. Make sure you have all the bits and pieces to make it work. Check for scratches, dents, tears and cracks, anything that might cause whatever you are buying to break or not work properly.
Do Your Research.
While some used items might seem like a bargain, be sure to check out its true price online. Always check the price of the item against prices of similar items in its current condition, not just the new retail price. Some items will hold their value much better than others, and those are the kinds of items that are well worth buying from a pawn shop.
Negotiate And Then Pay In Cash.
Every item in a pawn store will have a sticker price, but don’t be fooled—owners are almost always willing to negotiate. Start by naming your own price and then go from there. Set a limit as well so you don’t accidently spend too much in the heat of the moment. Pawn shop owners are often much more tempted to give you a lower price if you pay them in cold, hard cash. Paying in cash instead of with a card will also make sure that you stay within your limit. Don’t be afraid to walk away if the price isn’t right.
Know What To Buy...
Certain types of items from pawn shops can be a steal, while others are just a huge waste of money.
- Tools: Tools are a great item to buy, as new tools are often very expensive and they are built to handle wear and tear. Plus, if you’re looking for just one or two tools that come in a set, you can buy exactly what you need and nothing more.
- DVDS: DVDs usually sell for just a few dollars at pawn shops, and you can quickly inspect them for scratches before you purchase one. Pawn shops tend to have a large collection of older movies and foreign movies that you might not be able to find in any retail stores.
- Bikes: Bikes are a big ticket item that can often be found at pawn shops. Whether you’re into hardcore biking or you just want a new way to get around town, there may be a perfectly good bike waiting for you. People who buy bikes and then rarely use them often end up pawning them for quick cash, so it’s likely that you can find one in relatively good condition.
- Jewelry: Jewelry is one of the most commonly pawned items. With a good polish, dirty jewelry can look as good as new, without the steep cost. Jewelry is another item that is made to last a long time, so unless you’re buying incredibly aged vintage jewelry, the things you find at a pawn shop will probably still have plenty of durability left in them.
... And What Not To Buy.
- Computer: Never buy a computer from a pawn shop. Think of how slow your own computer gets after a few years of regular use. Pawned computers likely have lots of problems, and who knows what’s stored on the hard drive. There are plenty of budget friendly computers these days that are far more worth your money.
- Small Electronics: Other small electronics also tend to have the same problem. Many may outwardly appear functional, but once home, you may find them buggy or on their last legs. Unfortunately, pawn shops often will not refund your money, even if you purchase a broken item.
- Toys: Toys are something you should be leery of when you’re at a pawn shop. Just one child can successfully turn an innocent toy into an invisible germ nightmare, and that is undoubtedly not something you want to pass on to your child.
Shopping at pawn shops can be a great place to find hugely discounted items as long as you know where and when to look. Just go in educated and be smart about what you buy and you can become a money-saving pawn shop connoisseur in no time.