If you’re a savvy shopper like me, then you’ve probably seen the word wombling, but have no clue what it means. Well like it’s namesake the Wombles, it’s all about picking up unused receipts and cashing them in.
Wombling is all about picking up mislaid receipts and finding ways to take advantage. If you believe that another persons rubbish is someone else’s treasure, then wombling is for you.
You check discarded receipts, and receive money off vouchers if the bill doesn’t turn out to be at least 10 percent less expensive than the major four supermarkets; Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, and Waitrose.
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At Asda, this works because of its price guarantee, that they will be 10% cheaper than its main rivals. In return, you’ll get the difference via a voucher, which can be claimed using the barcode on the bottom of receipts via their app or website.
Tesco and Sainsbury’s play it a bit differently. Here, it’s all about the loyalty points. Womblers can cash in on any unclaimed Nectar and Clubcard points up to 14 days after shopping with a receipt, which can, in turn, be exchanged for money off vouchers.
It might sound like a lot of faff, but many die hard womblers are making big savings, including getting their whole shop for free!
For me, Asda is the goldmine. Most people leave their receipts in the trolley and haven’t checked through the app if their shop could have been cheaper.
I’ve found the average Asda Price Guarantee to be around £2, but have found one worth £5 before!
Think of it this way, if you saw a pound coin on the floor, you’d pick it up right? Think of that receipt as your gold coin.
Does it work anywhere?
Pretty much. Anywhere that has a loyalty scheme.
Morrisons have their Match and More card. If you find a receipt that isn’t associated with a card, then you can claim them. Just pop to customer services, and redeem. You can add up to 15 receipts in a 30-day period.
They have very strict criteria, though. The spend most have been over £15, with at least one comparable item, and you only earn points if that shop could have been cheaper elsewhere.
McDonald’s after free coffee when you have six stickers but most people leave them behind.
Costa Coffee accept receipts for points, that can be used for free drinks.
Subway and Nandos each have their own loyalty card that you can swap receipts for points then get free food.
Boots offer points on their Advantage card. If you find a receipt within 45 days, then you can have it added and spend the points in store.
Is it really legal?
Yes, it is, but the retailers hate it, surprise surprise.
They all have rules on the receipts only being used by the person who made the purchase.
The worst that could happen? They catch you and take your points away, making this whole exercise completely pointless!
From a moral perspective, it’s a bit of a grey area, but in my own personal view, if the original customer was interested in claiming the voucher or points, then they wouldn’t have left their receipt behind.
Just to be clear: taking receipts out of people’s bags or from the bin isn’t wombling. That’s stealing. They’ve made the conscious choice to throw it away or keep it tucked in their food bag. See a receipt around the car park or left in a trolley park, then it’s fair game.
Is it really worth it?
Like anything, it does take time.
There’s normally a limit on how much you can receive back in one go. So for example, Asda has a limit of 10 vouchers or £100 off a month.
Think about it. Start slow. Loading up 10 vouchers to start with is going to raise the alarm bells with the retailer. Steadily increase your usage, in till loading 10 a month looks like the norm.
And the added bonus?
You can even make some money by using Receipt Hog, a simple app that lets you scan your receipts, then gives you coins that you can exchange for either UK Amazon vouchers or withdraw as cash via PayPal.
On a serious note, though, I like to think that my small collection of receipts I’ve picked up from the car park have helped to tidy up my local community, and that there are fewer pieces of paper flying around, littering the environment; and hey, you might even bump into your local womble community.
I’ve been told by my own family members that this is unethical, but I think it depends on your view. To ME, wombling is just another way I can save a bit more money off my weekly shop.