Decide what type of gold you want to buy. The most common forms of gold to purchase are jewelry, coins, and bars. Each of these items is portable and easy to store in a small safe or box. Jewelry is perhaps the most versatile type of gold since it can be either worn or stored away. Gold coins and bars are occasionally displayed, but are usually carefully preserved in a safe.
Find a store. The type of gold you want to buy will determine where you shop. If you want to buy jewelry, a pawn shop or estate sale will often have quality items for a low price. The problem with buying gold secondhand is that you have no guarantee that the item is in good condition. It is usually best to purchase jewelry at a department store or fine jewelry store. Gold bullion, such as coins and bars, can be purchased at coin shops. Bullion can also be purchased at coin shows, where professional collectors sell off their unwanted gold coins and bars. Jewelry and coin stores can be found listed in your local phone book. The United States Mint also has a list of gold retailers on its website.
Examine the gold you want to purchase to make sure it is in good condition. If you are buying a new piece of gold, there should be no scratches or wear on the item. Used pieces of gold should be priced according to the wear on the item. Even if a gold coin is old, the price should reflect the condition of the coin.
Purchase your item. Paying with cash means you will not have an electronic record of the sale, so it is very important that you get a receipt. Save your receipt and put it in a safe location. If you encounter any problems with your gold, you should be able to return or exchange the item using your receipt. Make sure you ask the sales clerk about any special store policies on returning or exchanging gold items, as some stores only accept returns for a limited time.