Pawn shops can be great places to score excellent deals on jewelry, valuable coins, antiques, and even electronics. However, shopping at a pawn shop is quite different from shopping at a department store, standard jewelry store, or even a thrift shop. There may be a bit of a learning curve the first time or two you set foot inside a pawn shop, but with the advice below, you'll soon be shopping with the best of them.

Check back often.

Pawn shops' inventory is always changing. And the good things go quickly! If you do not find the item you want the first time you visit, come back — and then come back again. The best time to visit is first thing in the morning, right after the new items have been put in the case. This way, you will beat other shoppers to the high-demand items.

Do your research beforehand.

It's important to know what an item is worth so you can determine whether you're truly getting a good deal at the pawn shop. So, spend some time researching the items you plan on buying. For instance, if you're looking for a ruby ring, spend some time looking at different rubies and how much they retail for. Browse online listings, learn how to tell the qualify of a specific gem, and so forth.

Bring cash.

Many pawn shops are cash-only businesses. Even if the one you visit does accept credit cards, they will be happier if you're able to pay in cash since they have to pay a fee for each credit transaction. The pawn shop owner may give you a better deal if you buy in cash. They may even offer a standard discount of 5% or so for customers who do buy in cash. If there are two customers interested in the same item, there's also a good chance the owner would rather sell the item to the customer who has cash to offer.


You can negotiate at a pawn shop. In fact, the prices are set with the expectation that buyers will negotiate. Don't undercut the pawn shop owner too much, but do make a reasonable offer that's 10% or so lower than the price being asked. For example, if a ring is listed for $200, start by offering $180. The pawn broker may accept your offer, or they may make a counter offer. Either way, you'll save some money.

With the guidance above, you should feel better prepared to shop at a pawn shop. Good luck, and happy shopping.