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How wombling can save you money at the supermarket

Rebecca Rutt
by Lovemoney Staff Rebecca Rutt on 11 December 2012  |  Comments 6 comments

Wombling is a new way to save money on your shopping. But what's the catch?

How wombling can save you money at the supermarket

The term ‘wombling’ conjures up images of Uncle Bulgaria and the gang on Wimbledon Common. But it's also the name of a new moneysaving craze, helping shoppers to save money at the supermarket.

Wombling is where you collect up old supermarket receipts from in and around a shop – generally picked out of the bin or found in old trolleys – and collecting the points left on them.

But before you start scanning the floor for discarded vouchers, the rules around how to womble are pretty grey and the supermarkets are not on board.

How Wombling can save you money

Several supermarkets, including Tesco and Asda, offer price guarantees. So if you shop at a rival supermarket and it’s cheaper, you’re able to claim the difference back.

To do this you have to take the receipt into the shop and either scan it at the checkout or enter the code from the receipt online to get a voucher for the difference.

At Tesco and Asda for example, if a comparable food shop at Sainsbury’s or Morrisons is cheaper you’ll be given a voucher for the difference, up to a maximum of £10.

What the womblers do is collect other people’s discarded receipts, and in essence take the points - and the cash - for themselves. By doing this you can make quite a bit of money.

But there’s quite a big catch.

The catch

There are quite a few people wombling in the UK and saving money on their shopping. But the supermarkets aren’t keen on it. 

Many state in their terms and conditions that vouchers are only available for the person who has received them. Therefore if you're caught using points which you've not received on your own shop, they will be deducted from your account.

Tesco, for example, says the terms and conditions of its price promise include a fair use policy, and it considers using other customers' lost or unused vouchers to be in breach of this policy.

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.”

However, in reality a supermarket won't ask you to confirm your identity when you enter a code online to redeem a discount. This means many people are still risking wombling to get their hands on extra cash, even though it's not technically allowed.

Would you take up wombling to save some money? Or do you think it's too risky? Let me know in the comment box below.

More on saving money:

How to save money on your food shopping

Twelve good, cheap Christmas gift ideas

How to slash your supermarket delivery costs!

Furnish your home for less

How to cut the cost of your cinema tickets

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Comments (6)

  • misswolves
    Love rating 3
    misswolves said

    I know times are tight, but this is something that I think the majority of shoppers would find difficult to do.

    When I am doing my weekly shop, it is difficult enough to check I am using my points off vouchers without scanning for other shoppers discarded and old receipts.

    Further, I have started using that red laser scanning tool on my iPhone and feel slightly awkward scanning barcodes. But I have got some really good bargains that way.

    Report on 12 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Overtone
    Love rating 38
    Overtone said

    Fantastic! But rather than spend my own time crawling round the supermarket or going through litter bins to collect discarded receipts and vouchers, I see a major money-making opportunity. By telling people that if they send their receipts and vouchers to me they will be supporting some worthwhile charity I should be able to collect a much larger number of these papers, and from the comfort of my own home instead of having to spend my days in windswept supermarket car parks being mistaken for the person in charge of the car-washing crews. An occasional charitable donation should help the operation to appear legal and above-board. Meanwhile, under a entirely different business name, I will be advertising and selling on the receipts and vouchers I'm raking in. Just think what the owner of a gas-guzzling 4 x 4 would pay for a voucher giving 10p off a litre of fuel. By this time next year I will be winning awards for the most innovative new business of 2013, with new centres atarting up nationwide under a franchise system.

    Report on 12 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • silkycat
    Love rating 49
    silkycat said

    I'm with Overtone, but feel that an angle has been missed. If you go around suopermarket car parks piclking up discarded receipts etc, don't throw away the useless ones as you can get 60 pounds a tonne for waste paper.

    Report on 12 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Salfordguy
    Love rating 22
    Salfordguy said

    Don't forget if you are in the supermarket all day "wombling" you can save £££ on heating, so remember to turn the heating off. You could make it a day out with the kids and make it a game, but don't forget to take a flash and packed lunch as you don't want to buy supermarket cafe produce. You could dress your kids in shabby clothes and make them beg at the door or do a bit of carol singing. Every little helps!

    Report on 13 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Arblaster
    Love rating 43
    Arblaster said

    salfordguy said:

    Don't forget if you are in the supermarket all day "wombling" you can save £££ on heating, so remember to turn the heating off.

    Good thinking, Salfordguy. But if you are collecting other people's receipts, and you have an open fitre or a woodburning stove, you can take the receipts home and use them to get the fire/stove going.

    Report on 13 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • The Bank Manager
    Love rating 79
    The Bank Manager said

    I see such receipts at the self serve checkouts.

    If you see them there, it will save you looking like you're a homeless person, trawling through bins and trolleys, or by looking on the floor.

    Report on 15 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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