Categories > Tips and Tricks
1. Furry Holiday Fun
Don’t leave your doggies out this Christmas season – instead, bring them to Bonnie Doon Centre on November 24th for photos with Santa. This is one day only event, so don’t miss it!
2. Movie Magic
Watch The Nightmare Before Christmas for at the Alberta Legislature on November 29th for a fun festive night.
This event is completely free and you can even bring your own favourite snacks – just be sure to register beforehand at the link below to ensure your spot.
3. All Aboard!
Enjoy the sweet sounds of Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott as they serenade kids and adults of all ages aboard the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Holiday Train.
Entry to this wonderful event is free but CPR does ask that you bring a donation for the food bank to help those that truly struggle during the holiday season.
The CPR Holiday Train travels all throughout Canada and the US, but will be in Edmonton and surrounding areas December 9th and 10th this year.
4. Beerify Me
One of the best places in Edmonton to find unique and affordable Christmas presents is at one of our fun Christmas markets!
Pop into Yellowhead Brewery to browse through over 40 local vendors selling their Christmas crafts on December 22nd at the brewery itself.
Admission is $5 and includes a pint of beer – win, win!
5. Holiday Treasure Hunt
Now you didn’t think we were going to leave ourselves out of this fun list, did you?
Of course not!
Why not stop in to Loan Star Exchange for some holiday treasure hunting – you may just find a steal of a deal on a killer Christmas gift!
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Pawning is a great way to make money but only if you avoid common pawning mistakes. Here are five such pawning mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Misunderstanding Gold
Gold is one of the most common items that come through the doors at a pawn shop, yet gold itself is one of the least understood items on the planet. You see, the price of gold doesn’t operate like regular fluctuating stocks. It’s remarkably stable and, as a result, pawn shop owners understand the worth of an item mostly by placing it on a scale. Many people who try and pawn gold items try to over-negotiate when the pawn dealer understands just how much they can make by selling it to be melted down.
2. Being Sentimental
Sentimental value is important to some people, but your love of an item isn’t a big factor in pawning. In fact, it works against you when buying and selling. For buyers, they will often pay more than they need to for something they really want. For sellers, they will hold off on a fair price because they are convinced the item is worth more when it really isn’t.
The best way to avoid getting sentimental is to seriously assess whether you want to part with items you are pawning, and to not get overly-invested in items you want to buy before you make your offer.
3. Extreme Negotiating
There is rarely an item in a pawn shop that has a 300 per cent markup, yet many people buying things will try and lowball to save money. Negotiation can be part of the pawn shop experience but assuming large profit margins will shut down negotiations before they get you a stellar deal. The same applies when you are pawning items off. Understand the value of your items and negotiate from there.
4. Not Doing the Research
If you walk into a pawn shop with some items to sell and you haven’t done any research, you will often leave with those items still in your possession. The reason? Pawn shops don’t buy just anything. Be sure to head online and figure out what pawn shops are usually looking to buy and, while you’re there, do some research on what to expect in terms of cash in hand for those items.
5. Breaking Up Collectible Sets
Collectibles are a large part of the pawn shop market, but many people do not understand how to sell their collectibles to make the most amount of money. The best example is collectible sets. Too often, people will try and sell collectible sets as individual items, not understanding that they can often make more for the entire set. After all, not having to hunt down the individual pieces is a major convenience that many people will pay for.
If you are looking to pawn some items, it is in your best interest to do some research on what you want to sell. By taking the time to learn about pawning and your items, you can actually negotiate a better deal and sell more things. Also, be sure to always go to a reputable pawn shop for your pawning.
Buying new furniture can be one of the more costly things you can do for your home, often more expensive than redecorating with a few new throw pillows and a fresh coat of paint. That is why more and more people are taking the DIY approach to refinishing their old wooden furniture. Not only can they breathe new life into an old piece of furniture, but they can also be in control of the new look and feel of the piece. Today, let’s go through how to refinish an old dresser in just a few simple steps.
Step 1: Get Your Supplies
Yes, refinishing old furniture saves money, but you have to spend money to save money in this instance. Your first step is heading to the store to pick up supplies. Basically, you will need the following:
- Coarse sandpaper
- Fine sandpaper
- A paint or stain of your choosing
- A standard kitchen sponge
- Liquid soap
- A paintbrush
- Optional: a chemical stripping agent
Once you have your supplies, make sure you have a space where you can do your project safely. Since you may be using chemicals and sanding quite a bit, a well-ventilated area is a good idea. Outside is better.
Step 2: Prep the Dresser
Prepping the dresser essentially means taking a kitchen sponge and bucket of soap & water to the dresser. Gently wash away all the dirt and grime until the piece is crystal clean. Once that’s finished, let it dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Get to Sanding
The bulk of what you will be doing when refinishing an old dresser is sanding. Start with the coarse sandpaper and sand until you start to see the original wood poking through the paint, stain, or anything else that is in the way. Once that happens, switch to a finer sandpaper and sand away until all you see is the original wood.
If you are having trouble getting rid of the old finish, you may have to use a chemical stripping agent. Be sure to follow the instructions and safety guide when using these products.
Step 4: Paint or Stain
Once you are down to the original wood, it is time to give it a new stain or paint job, depending on your preferences. Paint is perfect for older pieces that still look a little worn, while stain can bring out the classic beauty of those old pieces. Despite your preference, the process remains mostly the same: use a brush to paint on your coating, let it dry, and put on another layer. If you are painting, be sure to start with a primer.
Buying brand new furniture can be very expensive, but refinishing old furniture is an excellent way to update old pieces and save money at the same time. Just remember: refinishing can be time-consuming and dangerous. Always follow the safety instructions of any products you use and wear all of the appropriate safety gear, including goggles and gloves. If you take your time and are careful, you could very well get decades of renewed use out of your old dresser, and have it fit into your current decor.
Becoming a musician is a big task, but we all start somewhere. Here are the things every beginner musician needs to know to start their journey.
1. How to Pick Out the Right Instrument
Unless you’re planning on becoming a master penny whistler, picking the right instrument is going to take a lot of research and a lot of money. Sure, you can pick up a simple acoustic guitar for less than $100 dollars to see if you like it, but that instrument is going to get in the way of your development quicker than you think. If you are serious about the time it takes to learn an instrument and become a musician, then you will need to also invest the money into getting something of quality.
The first step to picking out the right instrument isn’t even music-based, it’s budget-based. Researching instruments before knowing how much money you have is like going to an expensive restaurant without enough money in your pocket; you want the things you can’t afford and are more likely to put yourself in debt. Instead, carefully consider how much you can spend and then explore options that fit within that budget. If you know what kind of instrument you want but can’t afford a new one, check out Loan Star, who can show you affordable, high-quality, gently used guitars, drum kits, and other instruments to help you pick the best one for your needs.
2. How to Read Music
While musicians like Thom Yorke can’t read music, that isn’t exactly the best route to go when learning to play. Getting the basics of music down involves learning how to read music. This will often come with your lessons and is an essential skill to learning songs, how music works, and how musicians communicate their music to each other. Music is a language with concepts and lots of technical terms. Getting the hang of all of this is absolutely key to being a successful musician. Unless, of course, you think you’re the next Thom Yorke.
3. How to Manage Your Time
Learning music is like learning a skill and a new language all at the same time. And, just like skills and languages, when you don’t use it and practice regularly, it goes away. To truly learn music, you need to put in the time. It’s both simple and complicated, though. First, set aside blocks of time to work on your skills as often and, possibly more importantly, as consistently as you can. That means regular practice so you can learn new skills and keep them going into the future.
Becoming a musician is a lot of fun, but there’s plenty to do before hitting the stage. With the right budgeting of time and money, however, you can learn a new instrument, keep the skills you acquire, and keep yourself out of debt as you prepare for your big stage debut.
More Must-Read Stuff on Musical Instruments
Summer is officially upon us and with it comes summer festivals. These multi-day events are easily some of the most fun you can have when the weather’s warm, but they can quickly go south if you aren’t prepared. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you make the most of the festival season.
Do: Have a Plan
Planning your summer festival is extremely important. You need to think about everything ahead of time, including what you’re bringing, letting people know where you are and transportation. Be sure you arrive at the festival with the things you need, including cash. Don’t expect food or souvenir vendors to have debit machines. Don’t forget your sunscreen.
Don’t: Plan too Much
The enemy of festivals is itineraries. While you should be prepared for the festival, don’t load your schedule with back-to-back activities. Have some fun, enjoy the moment and take some time to just hang out with the people at the party. Summer festivals are about bringing people together who have similar interests. Be sure to take some time to appreciate what’s happening around you.
Do: Bring Snacks
If you have ever travelled with another person, you’ve probably discovered firsthand what “hangry” means. Basically it’s when we turn into toddlers when we’re hungry, becoming irritable, grumpy, and, most importantly for summer festivals, not fun. The best remedy for keeping up your energy all day is to have some snacks with you. Maybe pack a few for your friends too, so they won’t get hangry either.
Don’t: Bring Nice Things
Your favourite clothes probably won’t last through a festival weekend. Your other items won’t either, since they’ll most likely be stored in an unlocked tent, open to everyone around you. Instead of trying to look fabulous and be surrounded by your electronics, only bring the stuff you really need, and things you won’t mind getting dirty, muddy, or ripped. (Not every festival site has showers.).
Do: Have a Buddy
The buddy system isn’t just for kids. Having a friend you can count on is extremely important. They’ll not only help you have a good time, but they’ll be there if something, or someone, gets in the way of your good time. Besides, festivals are more fun when you are rocking out with a likeminded friend.
Don’t: Get Carried Away
It’s important to have your head about you. Be sure to enjoy everything moderation, not excess, and take care of yourself. Try to keep your drinking to a minimum. Getting blackout drunk is no way to enjoy the music; and who needs a hangover during a festival?
Summer festivals are great if you’re prepared. Take a few moments beforehand to ensure you can rock out all weekend long.
Need some cheap gear for festival season? Inspired to take up the guitar after watching your favourite band? Then come see what we have in stock!
Keeping your home organized can seem like a formidable chore. Everyone gets busy, life makes you lose sight of a neat home and it seems like you have too much stuff and not enough space to put it. This is especially relevant to working parents. Starting today, follow the decluttering tips below, make a routine out of your decluttering and organizational efforts and you will notice the clutter disappear!
Go Through the House One Room at a Time
Tackling the task of decluttering your home can be overwhelming. Focus on one room at a time, strategically working on the rooms you use most.
Clean Out Your Closets First
The first spot you should organize and declutter in each room is the closet. It’s where everything gets put out away haphazardly when you need to clean up in a hurry and it can accumulate a lot of junk.
Use the Four Box/Pile System
Set up four boxes or piles; one will be for items you intend to throw away, one for items you will give away or donate, one for storage and lastly for those things you will find a place to put away neatly.
Buy Organizational Supplies
Take a trip to the dollar store and buy plenty of containers, bins, boxes and file folders that will help you organize your cupboards, drawers and closets.
Get Creative with Organization
There are so many ways to be imaginative when organizing and decluttering your home. Look at online solutions for ways to personalize your organization in ways that work best for you and your family.
Use a “Lost and Found” System
Does this sound familiar: you walk in the door at the end of the day and you see a bunch of items belonging to members of your family strewn about the house? Save yourself time putting these things away by having designating “lost and found” bins for each person in the family.
Use Vertical Space
There is only a limited amount of space to set up shelves, desks and organizational tools. Utilize vertical space on the wall, the backs of doors and cupboard to maximize your space and decluttering capacity.
Use Spaces Nobody Thinks to Use
Measure your cupboards and the height of the space under your bed and buy containers and bins that will fit in these spots so they can be utilized for storage. Winter sweaters, crafting supplies, wrapping paper and more fit well into these spaces.
Label and Use Pictures
Sometimes a label or visual reminder can demonstrate how great a space looks when it’s organized and clean. Take a snapshot of your cupboards and closets when they are clean and organized. This method can work especially well with kids.
Make Organization a Routine
You home will stay organized and clutter free if you make it a part of your daily life. Ensure you keep on top of organization by scheduling a time to complete it and make your organizational system easy to use. Get your kids on board too by teaching them how to organize and reward them for cooperating.
Have too much stuff? We might be interested in buying it. Call us today: 780-424-2274
Finding that perfect gift for everyone on your list can be a daunting task. As the years go on, you start to run out of ideas. What do you get for a dad who has everything? Or a grandma who insists the only gift she needs is a visit from you over the holidays? With no help from your family members on this one, where do you turn? Gift cards are so impersonal, and chocolates can add unwanted extra inches to waistlines (which you will ultimately be blamed for). Finding the right gift starts to feel hopeless.
What if you could find a place where there’s a gift for everyone? A place where minimal thinking is needed: when you see it, you’ll know—and you’ll be sure to see it with a selection like that!
There’s only one place where hope can be found, and it’s the last place you would think of. The answer? A pawn shop.
You may be thinking, ‘a pawn shop? Why would I want someone’s used things?’ The truth is that many pawn shops have beautiful items that may not have even been used. People store away precious heirlooms and items that they collected over the years, often keeping them in pristine condition. Pawn shops don’t accept just any old items—they’re looking for high-quality merchandise that people will want. You don’t have to worry about buying a dusty, moldy-smelling item. The products for sale at pawn shops are often like new, and the best part is that it’s all for an extremely reasonable price.
Pawn shops carry a large selection of items such as electronics, jewelry, home appliances, recreational items, instruments, clothing, furniture, collectors’ items and more. This makes a pawn shop the perfect place to find that special gift for those special people on your Christmas list. And best of all? It’ll be a one-stop-shop, so you don’t have to run around to a number of different stores.
Not sure exactly what you’re looking for, or not sure where to start? Pawn shops are equipped with experienced sales professionals who have been working in the pawn business for a large number of years. These professionals are well-versed in the holiday shopping season, and have helped many people find the right gift for the important people in their lives.
Our pawn brokers will be able to help you find everything you need, even for the hardest person to buy for on your list! Some of their great merchandise includes luxury items such as diamond rings and Rolex watches, as well as golf clubs, power tools, laptops and tablets, and beautiful guitars.
There really is something for everyone when you visit a pawn shop. Take a trip down to our store and browse the great items they have on display—you’re sure to find everything you need!
Come by our shop and browse our selection of jewelry. When you find that perfect piece, let us know you’d like to buy it on our layaway plan.
We take 20% of the total cost of the item as a down payment.
We’ll also take the item off our shelf and set it aside for you. After that we’ll set up a monthly schedule, where you pay 20% of the total cost of the item each month. Then at Christmas when the item is paid in full, we’ll give it to you so you can really wow that special someone.
Benefits of a Layaway Plan
We all know sometimes it can be hard to afford the gifts your loved ones deserve. By making easy monthly payments, you can free up room in your budget.
Layaway plans don’t build interest, unlike a credit card.
With layaway you’ll pay the price of the item and that’s it. Buying an item on a credit card before you can afford to pay in full can cause the costs of the item to sky rocket with never ending interest payments. With layaway you’ll save money.
Finding the gift for someone special can be a real challenge. Especially when it feels like everything has already been picked over and you’re forced to settle for something less than perfect. By doing your shopping early you can find that perfect piece for that special someone before everyone else.
No credit card? No problem! We take cash, debit and credit for our layaway plans.