Research shows that in the U.S., four in 10 households wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 emergency expense. And that research was conducted before the recent global chaos of lockdowns and layoffs, so it’s likely that the situation isn’t any better these days.
If you’re facing an expense but low on savings, you might be looking around your house wondering “what can I pawn for 500 dollars?” You’ll find a few ideas below.
Note that pawning is only a good option if you want the option to re-purchase the item at a later date. Otherwise, you can usually get more money by just selling your item outright on a platform like eBay or to a local buyer.
What Can I Pawn for 500 Dollars?
When you pawn an item, you can expect to receive 30-70% of its value, depending on the individual shop and the item’s condition. Thus, to earn $500 from pawning a single item, its actual value needs to be over $500. Here are some items that can fall into that category.
Pawn Technology for $500
Your tech collection is the perfect place to start looking for a $500 pawnable item.
Smartphones can have a sale value of $500-1000 if you have one of the latest models. Since you’ll only earn a fraction of the value at a pawn shop, it might be hard to crack $500 by pawning one phone—but maybe you have several laying around.
Laptops or desktop computers (especially pricier versions like gaming computers) can easily be worth $500+ and net a good return at a pawn shop.
Televisions won’t net you much if they’re older versions, but something like a high-end HD or smart TV could get into the $500 range.
DSLR cameras can easily get you $500 at the pawn shop, since the value of many models exceeds $1,000.
Wearable gadgets like smart watches or luxury headphones can get you a pawn loan for hundreds of dollars.
Pawn Tools for $500
Got a shed full of tools you rarely use? Putting them in pawn until you need them again could help float you through an emergency. Not all pawn shops will accept all types of equipment, but you can call around to ask about tools like:
- Lawn mowers
- Drill sets
- Power saws
- Air compressors
- Plumbing equipment
- Wrench sets
- Mechanic tools
The main things that will determine your tools’ value are their brand and condition. You might have to pawn multiple tools to reach $500.
Pawn Jewelry for $500
Jewelry is often one of the first things people think of to pawn, and for good reason. It’s (A) often high-value and (B) something you can easily live without for as long as you need to. The only sticking point is whether there’s sentimental value involved, but ultimately, your financial well-being does outrank most physical belongings.
Start with the low-stakes jewelry that’s easier to part with:
The last-resort items would be family heirlooms and engagement or wedding rings. If you’re facing dire circumstances, I’d like to think your ancestors would be glad to help. With rings, you & your significant other could temporarily replace the expensive bands with low-cost alternatives. You can also pawn precious metals in non-jewelry forms, like a gold or silver coin collection.
Pawn Musical Instruments/Equipment for $500
If you have a musical talent, your instrument may feel like an extension of yourself. Or, it may have been sitting forgotten in a closet collecting dust because you’re too busy to play. (Speaking from experience—looking at you, closet violin.) Guitars, cellos, and other instruments with a value near $1000 should earn you $500 at a pawn shop.
Recording or DJ equipment also falls into this category. If you’ve played in a band or dabbled with recording music, podcasts, YouTube videos, etc., you might have professional-quality microphones or speakers.
Pawn Sports Equipment/Vehicles for $500
This is another good idea of something to pawn, since you can live without recreational items (even if life is a little less fun for a while).
Think of any “toys” you have for the weekends or summers:
- Jet skis
- Nice kayaks
- Snowboards or skis
- Hunting or fishing equipment
- Golf clubs
- Mopeds or motorcycles
Pawn or Sell Several Lower-Cost Items Together
If you don’t have many items worth $500+, that’s totally fine. In fact, it’s a good thing, since it probably means you’re financially responsible and resist impulse purchases! Instead, scrounge around your home, attic, and garage for anything you don’t use often. Small kitchen appliances, shoes/clothing/accessories from a good brand, video game discs, and other household items can all add up.
Running out of things to pawn or sell? Learn about 34+ more ways to make money fast.
Kate is a writer and editor who runs her content and editorial businesses remotely while globetrotting as a digital nomad. So far, her laptop has accompanied her to New Zealand, Asia, and around the U.S. (mostly thanks to credit card points). Years of research and ghostwriting on personal finance led her to the FI community and co-founding DollarSanity. In addition to traveling and outdoor adventure, Kate is passionate about financial literacy, compound interest, and pristine grammar.