Pawn Shop Tips

I grew up in Queens, New York, as an only child.  Being an only child, most of my shopping experiences were at the local mall or department store with my mom.  I definitely would not have been the person to give you pawn shop tips!  I guess a good way of putting it was Macy's was my second home. ;-)  On countless occasions, I heard this statement when I met someone new. "You're an only child?!  I never would have guessed it!  You don't act spoiled!"  I'm thankful that people felt that way about me.  I'll admit that even though I may not have acted spoiled as a child, I most certainly was!  We'd go shopping for what we wanted/needed and came home with our purchases.  We'd use coupons from time to time but if we left them at home by accident, it wouldn't stop us from buying!  Pawn shops and consignment stores were not even in my vocabulary!  My parents worked very hard all my life and I know that the lifestyle I had growing up was only possible because of their efforts.  They set a good example for me of what it means to be diligent and faithful in whatever career path you chose. 

Now that time has passed and I have little ones of my own to care for, I've become much more thrifty.  I enjoy looking for the best deals and I don't like paying full price unless I absolutely have to.  This is especially true when there is a want and not a need!  When you have a large family, this is usually the way you have to be whether you enjoy it or not.  And...If you are as passionate about giving your family a more healthier lifestyle as I am, you know that much of your money goes towards buying healthy food and natural alternatives to maintain good health.  I mean really...that spirulina I use to sneak some more greens into my picky eater's daily smoothies isn't cheap! ;-)

If you told me years ago that I'd be writing a blog post about pawn shop tips, I would have laughed.  Pawn shops notoriously have a bad name and we often fear and/or judge what we don't know.  Before this experience, I had never set foot in a pawn shop so when I was contacted by National Pawn and invited to review their store, I'll admit I was skeptical.  It was my love of good deals that had me intrigued...I'm so glad I decided to accept the invite and check it out because my experience was wonderful! 

National Pawn has 16 locations across North Carolina. They are a family owned business, which is a plus in itself and their care for their customers is felt from the moment you step foot in the door.  I visited the Gastonia, NC location and was pleasantly surprised in so many ways.  The entire staff was super happy, helpful and courteous the whole time I was there!  I watched the way they dealt with other customers walking in and they acted similarly with them.  They knew many of the customers by name.  They certainly were not putting on a show because I was there.  The company's motto is "Changing the perception of the pawn business one customer at a time."  This is the perfect motto for them! They changed my perception of the pawn business for sure! 

I'm sure some of you might be confused as to what a pawn shop actually is. I know I was!  Here is a little overview...

There are two main reasons, someone might go to a pawn shop:

#1 They need cash quick.

Pawn shops will give out loans to those who are in need of cash.  These loans are different than a traditional bank loan because it is based off of an item that someone already owns.  For example, if a family has some unexpected bills that need to be paid, they can turn in an heirloom, like a ring, or an electronic device and in exchange, receive cash for that object right there on the spot. They are then expected to pay the pawn shop back within a set period of time along with some interest in order to earn their item back.  

At National Pawn, the payments are expected to be made within 90 days and with a 22% interest fee.  I know!  Ouch!  22% is pretty steep!  One of the perks of this type of loan is that your debt does not follow you for long periods of time.  Though the interest rate is very high, it is sometimes more preferable to carry a loan like this verses the dreaded credit card debt that, unfortunately, plagues families for years and years.  The worst that can happen in this scenario, if you can't make your payment in time, is that your item becomes the property of the pawn shop and you won’t be able to get it back.

#2 They have items that they want to sell. 

This is a much simpler option and, in my opinion, an easy way for the stay at home mom to make money.  Sell your item to a pawn shop and they will give you cash on the spot.  End result - You'll have some extra cash and less stuff! Sounds like a stay at home mom win to me!  Lately, I have been on a mission to declutter pretty much every corner of my home!  We, as a family, have too much stuff!  Can you relate?  All this stuff is unnecessary and it takes away from what's really important and meaningful in life.  I'm convinced that moms would be so much happier and have more joy if their homes were less cluttered.  I'm pretty sure there are many that would agree with me since the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, is on the NY Times bestseller list.  I've experienced more peace in my home and feel less distracted and overwhelmed since incorporating many of the ideas listed in this book.  I highly recommend reading it along with THIS POST about clutter and motherhood.

Here are a few things I learned about National Pawn that sets them apart from other pawn shops and makes them more trustworthy:

  • They will contact their customers, who have pawned an item with them, on the 90 day deadline and remind them that they will have to pay the remainder of the loan in order to get their money back. Many Pawn Shops will not give you a reminder. If you forget your payment deadline, it’s your loss!

  • Any musical instruments that become store property after a defaulted loan, will not get put out on the floor for sale. They are donated to a local school for children to use. :-)

  • They have a 72 hour return policy. If you purchase a diamond ring and decide to return it within 3 days, you'll get your money back - no questions asked.

  • The store is extremely clean and well organized.

  • They are very highly rated on google. The reviews speak for themselves!

  • They make sure to price their items for sale at very competitive pricing. They will search other pawn shops in the area and make sure that their items are being sold at the best prices!

UPDATE:  In the summer, 2018, National Pawn is outfitting an entirely new technology center for the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club on Marsh Road in Charlotte, NC.  The tech center donation will include 10 new desktop computers to replace antiquated ones, which were more than a decade old and not functional for students.  National Pawn is also gifting the Club with $2,000 for software upgrades, staff training and future repair costs to make the center immediately useable, and sustainable for years to come.

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club on Marsh Road in Charlotte, NC serves more than 85 students from ages 6-18, and computers are often used for homework, career exploration, learning STEM skills and playing enrichment games. This donation will allow the Club to completely replace all previous computers available to students, and also comes at a time where the Club expects an increase in members and the amount of time they spend onsite with school out for the summer.

This proves that the company puts their money where their mouth is.  They are continually looking for ways to give back to those in need.  This is very admirable and one of the reasons I love small, family owned businesses.  :-)

So...What did you get at the shop? I'm glad you asked! ;-)

As I said before, I love a good deal!  I've snagged quite a bit of deals on Ebay on homeschool supplies and various items in the past but there are some things that I feel are much better being purchased after actually seeing them in person.  

National Pawn sells:

  • Household Appliances

  • Tools for the house and garden

  • Camping Gear

  • Light Sabers for you Star Wars fans

  • Various Trinkets

  • Jewelry (both high end and costume)

  • Video Games and Equipment

  • Musical Instruments

  • Televisions

  • DVDs & Blue Rays

  • Electronic of all kinds...including CAMERAS! Yippee!

When I saw that they sold high end cameras, I was thrilled!  As a blogger, good photography is a pretty important part of each blog and social media post.  Unfortunately, good cameras are expensive and not something I could justify spending money on this early in my blogging career!  I was so happy to snag a wifi compatible entry level camera from 2015 in amazing condition with a price tag of $129!  National pawn even included a memory stick to go with it!  I did some research and the camera I got, Canon PowerShot SX530 Digital Camera w/ 50x Optical Zoom - Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled, is currently selling on amazon for more than double the price! It has 4.5 star reviews on amazon, works great, and takes some beautiful pictures!  

My girls came with me to the store and walked out with lollipops from the friendly staff as well as two wii games that they didn't already have.  They were happy to take a little field trip and get a break from homeschooling. ;-)

If you’re in North Carolina and want to browse the inventory at any one of National Pawn’s 16 locations, I highly recommend you give it a try!  

If after reading this post, you feel compelled to head to your local pawn shop, please do your research first and follow these pawn shop tips.  Finding the answers to these questions will ensure that you are getting the best experience:

  • Is the pawn shop highly rated?

  • Do they have a return policy?

  • Will the store contact you to remind you that a final payment is due?

  • Will they match another pawn shops price?

  • How willing are they to work with you?

  • Is the staff friendly and accommodating?

Last but not least..If you find yourself struggling financially or just want to boost your savings account, I highly recommend reading Dave Ramsey’s book Total Money Makeover or working for VIPKID. The goal for any family should always be to get out of debt as fast as possible!  It’s not easy and it does take work but the benefits are far reaching. 

I love listening to moms chattering away about the deals they've scored.  Have you ever been inside a pawn shop and scored a good deal? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments! 

Disclaimer:  I received store credit to use at National Pawn in exchange for this review.  As always, all opinions are my own.  This post also contains affiliate links. If you purchase something via any of links here, it will not cost you extra but I will receive a portion of your purchase to help support this blog.  Thank you for your support! You can read our full disclosure here.