Need Extra Money? Learn How from Scripted Reality Shows

pawn stars
Image via Keithready, Wikimedia

Could you use some extra money? Let’s learn how from the Pawn Stars, the American Pickers, and two artists from the Storage Wars.

Pawn Stars

There’s much to learn from the guys at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. As we watch them purchase incredible items, remember pawn shops also purchase a lot of everyday, household items. These pawn stars say that most shops are honest, and will offer you a fair price for what you’ve got, but that it never hurts to visit a few just see who is willing to give you the best price.

We already know that we can pawn and sell our things, however, by really watching their dealings we have an opportunity to observe pretty basic, but very important tips that we can apply in scenarios outside of the pawn shop, too.

  1. Do your research beforehand so that you know the value of what you have, or what you’re buying. This will help you avoid over paying, and it will also help you to manage your expectations. 
  2. When you purchase something that you’d like to sell, it helps to know the time it’s going to take you to sell it. Knowing whether it’s going to be a quick sell or not can help you decide if it’s worth the price.
  3. Most everything has a price that is negotiable; vehicles, secondhand finds, damaged goods, and – of course – pawn shop items can all be negotiated in cost. It’s always worth trying to get a fair deal.

antique archaeology
Image via Nbastian210, Wikimedia

American Pickers

The American Pickers, Mike and Frank, travel the country to comb through old barns, buildings, and fields of junk, in search of rusted treasures from days past. Their show is a history class, if you will – possibly the best one ever, because we get to follow along as they search for amazing items for Antique Archaeology, and we can learn a lot about antiquity, too.


I’ve learned that a lot of the junk I find is actually worth something to someone other than myself – I love the unconventional. If you find yourself yearning to rummage through a pile of junk, with the faith that you’ll find something incredible, you might have a little picker in you, too. And, like Mike and Frank, you might be able to make some extra cash on the items you loved enough to rescue from a pile of debris, by selling them.

While asking random property owners for permission to rummage through their piles of rusty gold may not be in the cards for everyone (I so want to, but I have yet to be brave enough to actually ask; unless there’s a “yard sale” sign out front, I just drive on by and daydream about it for months) there is always a place for you at T.J.Maxx, yard sales, and the Goodwill. You can find pretty cool saleable pieces at those places. When raking through discount and secondhand stores, use the same rules that Mike and Frank do on a pick:

  1. Pick something that you absolutely love, not just for what it is, but for its story, too. The more history and emotion something has behind it, the more likely someone will want it.
  2. Keep in mind what people like these days. Mike says that since people tend to follow trends set by major influences such as Martha Stewart, choose things that cater to current trends.
  3. Probably the most important of all the rules is to keep within your means. Set a firm budget – once it’s gone, be done.

Image via Uptown Country Home

Storage Wars

Storage Wars, is another one of my reality faves. Yes, I have heard the rumor that “winner items” are placed in the storage units before they are auctioned off, but still, it’s another one of my reality must-sees – the Texas one in particular. Before the Texas edition, I’d cringe when locker buyers would throw the ugly stuff away, because I pretty much believe that everything deserves a second chance. I even imagined what I’d do with their tossed pile – I had big plans for a lot of their garbage.

Finally, someone who actually saw potential profit in something ugly, useless, and outdated.

When Storage Wars: Texas, came along and featured Jenny and Mary, I was so relieved to see someone reuse and upcycle what their lockers contained. The creativity and imagination of Mary and Jenny, lead to a couple of things to remember when considering something profitable before it gets labeled as trash.

  1. Think outside the box. Something mundane and useless can be turned into cash; Mary demonstrated this when she turned a collection of old floppy disks into a rather incredible room divider.
  2. Jenny proves that an old chest of drawers (sans a few of its drawers) circa 1980 just needs some paint and some moulding to transform it into a nice entertainment center that features some open shelving, perfect for displaying picker finds.
  3. Think about your potential buyers – consider their taste and lifestyle, and flip something into a piece that they don’t want to live without.

While we’re on the subject of thinking outside of the box – do you have stuff that you’d like to turn into cash, but could use a little creative inspiration on how to do that? If so, let me know, I’d seriously love to start a project with you!


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Need Extra Money? Learn How from Scripted Reality Shows

Melanie Denney lives in the smallest of towns, with her two little darlings. She has a Bachelor's degree and happily works as a full-time mother and a freelance writer, specializing in sociology and recreation leadership. ... More

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1 comment

  1. mommy nhoj says:

    We have never done this before but nice to know 🙂

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