CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Have you ever fallen into a money trap at a big box store by purchasing things you don't need just because you think you're going to save some money? 

A money trap is defined as spending more than you wanted or intended to. It happens to a lot of people, but there are ways to avoid these common pitfalls and hold onto your hard-earned money. 

First, don't be fooled by the BOGO trap. The buy one, get one sale is great — if you need two. Often times, you can get one for half price, thus really saving you money. 

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The next trap is a store credit card offer. We all get that pitch at checkout, but here's the thing: those cards really don't save you money unless you pay them off right away. For example, in December Target's Red Card had an interest rate of 24.6% and Walmart's rewards card was 26.9, basically 27% interest. If you carry a balance on those cards, who cares if you're saving 5% at checkout on an item when you're paying triple that in interest? 

Next is the free sample trap. Costco is famous for their free samples, which makes them popular with consumers. But these samples often get you to put stuff that wasn't on your list in your cart. It happens all the time. 

And finally, don't assume the sale item is the best possible price. Always check on the internet. Another example: WCNC Charlotte's Bill McGinty was shopping for a new camera bag. A local store wanted $181, so when Bill snapped a photo of the make, the tag and the SKU number and looked it up on Amazon, the bag was $100 cheaper. 

Saving money takes discipline and a little bit of work, but it is possible. 

MORE MONEY-SAVING TIPS FROM MCGINTY:

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 Who has the best online grocery shopping and delivery in Charlotte?

 Get McGinty: Plastic that pays

 Best ways to find cheap seats at concerts, movies, and games

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