New Yorkers head to pawnshops for cash to help pay bills

As inflation continues to hover at its highest rate in 40 years, economic issues are top of mind for voters. Fox 5 News found New Yorkers are turning to pawnshops to make ends meet.  

"If you really want to see how the economy is doing, spend a weekend in a pawnshop because we're the first line of defense," said Danny, the owner F&D Pawn Brokers.

Danny said he could see the impact of inflation in the increase of loans he and other New York City pawnshops are giving out.   

"It's across the board," Danny said. "We know how the economy is doing before most people because we see people who need money for groceries and everyday goods."  

Pawnshops are usually a last resort or a way to get a loan when you have bad credit or no credit.  

But Danny said his customers, the majority being low income, are the first to feel higher prices. Over the past couple of months, inflation is pushing a new kind of person into the world of pawning.

"The other day, I had a lady in here with a carriage and she had a young child," Danny said. "And she needed money for food. It was horrible. You see what's happening and I see a lot of that lately."  

Rasheem Purcell told Fox 5 news he was walking into Gem Pawn Brokers Monday to pawn his cherished custom-made $650 gold grill.   

"I needed money," he said, laughing.  

"It's my baby," Purcell said. "We have to turn in our goods and make it work just so we can eat, survive, do laundry, cosmetics, and simple things. Living day to day."  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that consumer prices rose by more than 8% this year. That's not just affecting people for a night out on the town or a new pair of shoes, that's hitting them where it hurt the most, making it hard for them to pay for necessities, like rent, groceries and gas.  

That means for every $100 spent last year, people are spending $108.20 this year. The BLS says food is up 91.4% and the price of gas is up nearly 20%. Consumers are spending an estimated $445 more each month, according to Moody's Analytics.

People are having a harder time saving as well, especially for luxury goods, according Fordham Fashion Law Institute Academic Director Susan Scafidi.

 "That rise in price has certainly made it harder to do the old-fashioned thing and save up to a buy a luxury good as a treat," Scafidi said.