Wombling can help to cut your bills at Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
As soon as you saw the title of this blog it would have conjured up visions of uncle Bulgaria and the rest of the Womble gang wombling around Wimbeldon common.
Well, for those of us of a certain age it would. Wombling is also the name of the latest supermarket craze, helping shoppers save at the supermarket.
It is a simple context. Wombling is where you collect any discarded receipts you find in the supermarket and use them to claim back loyalty points or price promise guarantees.
Now before you start scouring the floors, trolleys and baskets for abandoned vouchers, the rules concerning wombling are thin on the ground and as you can probably imagine not all retailers are exactly on board with the new thrifty phenomenon.
How wombling can save you money
Wombling can help help you to make pretty impressive savings in Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
Asda runs it’s ‘Price Guarantee’ scheme which promises if your shop isn’t 10% cheaper than rivals Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose you’ll get the difference via a voucher, which you can claim using the barcode on the receipt via the app or on the website.
Over at Sainsbury’s and Tesco womblers can cash in on unclaimed loyalty points. Both allow you to redeem unclaimed Club Card and Nectar points up to 14 days after the purchase as long as you have the receipt. Collect enough receipts and claim back the points and you could turn them into a few quids worth of money off vouchers.
All this might sound like a lot of effort but not when you consider how much some people are saving. Stephen Aulker, 58, was in the headlines recently claiming he saves an average of £200 a month by wombling.
The retiree has been wombling for six years and scans bushes, trolley bays and windy corners seeking out discarded receipts from other shoppers.
His biggest find from a single receipt was £14.48 and his biggest monthly haul was £225, just for being a thrifty, wombling, wombler!
Is wombling legal?
Wombling is perfectly legal as long as the receipts you collect are NOT from in store or in bins on the grounds of the store.
ASDA have written to many members of the wombling Facebook group set up by Stephen saying that wombling is perfectly legal, and while the other supermarkets may not encourage it, there is nothing illegal about it.
What should I you consider when out wombling?
Although there are many people out there wombling, the supermarkets aren’t exactly keen on it.
Many state in their terms and conditions that points and vouchers are only available to the person who has earned them.
Therefore, if you’re caught using points which you’ve not received on your own shop, they could be deducted from your account.
Tesco, for example, says in its Clubcard terms and conditions that points can be claimed “providing the receipt belongs to the claiming member and is based on their personal spend.”
Nectar follows a similar line. In its card rules customers agree that points are only provided against their own transactions.
It says: “Points can only be earned, held, transferred or redeemed as set out in these rules. Any other use, award, sale, exchange or transfer of points, or attempt to do so, is a serious breach of these rules.
“Any points not earned and held in accordance with these rules will be invalid, cannot be redeemed for rewards and will be deducted from the applicable account.”
The reality is the supermarket won’t ask you to confirm your identity when you enter a code online or in-store to redeem a discount or points making them pretty powerless until they introduce new measures.
He is also a contributor to Clear Debt, ICOUNT Money and M1 Debt Advice blogs discussing all things personal finance.