How We Get Our Weekly Food Shop For Free | A Guide To Wombling
This post is now almost two years old. It still remains one of my most popular. For that reason I’ve updated it with the latest information for 2017.
The concept of wombling is simple. Collect discarded receipts and cash in on any unclaimed loyalty points or price promise guarantees. This concept has paid for weeks and months of my own supermarket shopping at a time. However, it’s important you know the rules, and where your time is best spent hunting for treasure.
Tesco currently provides ClubCard points to customers shopping in-store. Find a receipt that’s not had a ClubCard linked with it within 14 days of the transaction and you can claim the points at customer services.
However, Tesco ClubCard points give you £0.01 in return for every £1 spent. This can often be doubled, tripled or quadrupled on the ClubCard website where you can exchange your points for days out, meals etc.
Regardless, this scheme isn’t the most rewarding. Not only do you need to find receipts that haven’t been used the amount of value you’re going to get back isn’t likely to be worth your time.
Sainsbury’s currently provides its customers with Nectar points. Much like Tesco you’re going to need to find a receipt that’s not been linked with a Nectar card in order to claim.
However, Nectar points are worth even less than ClubCard points at just £0.05 per point / pound spent. These too can be doubled up on the Nectar website and exchanged for days out etc.
Again, regardless of whether you can double, triple or even quadruple your points wombling in Sainsbury’s is least likely to provide you with any real return on investment for your time.
Finally, we’re getting somewhere. I personally womble at Asda. However, Asda has no loyalty card. Instead, you’ll need to find a receipt and compare the shopping at Asda online to the other major supermarkets. That’s because Asda promise to be 10% cheaper on your food shopping or give you back the difference.
What I love about wombling at Asda is that when you find a receipt you’ve already hit a winner. As this person has clearly not checked Asda’s online system. The shop needs to have eight different comparable items in order to provide a full APG result.
You’re able to redeem the money on eligible receipts on your food shopping – this is worth much more to me than days out etc. Finally, the return on investment is much higher with the average APG coming in at around £2 with many finding receipts worth £14 or more…
Think about it, if you saw £2 on the floor you’d pick it up. So what’s the difference in picking up a receipt?
Morrisons uses a Match and More loyalty card. Look out for receipts that haven’t got a Match and More card associated with them. Take the receipts to the customer service desk and redeem the points onto your own card. Morrisons will only let you add 15 receipts to your card in a 30 day period.
However, the criteria for a valid receipt is different to just a plain old shop in Morrisons. You need to spend £15 or more in store and purchase at least one ‘comparable’ product. You earn points based on whether or not your shop would have been cheaper elsewhere.
For every £0.10 difference in price, you get 100 Match and More points. You need 5,000 points before you can exchange your points for a £5 money off voucher.
Wombling In Other Locations
The truth is you can womble around just about anywhere that has some form of loyalty scheme. This includes places such as;
Based on my couple of years wombling. I do have some advice, these aren’t rules as such. They should, however, keep wombling as a hassle-free way to save serious amounts of cash. Whilst there are no rules against wombling, there is a gray area so it’s best to keep the whole experience as low key as possible.
Don’t spend or redeem all your receipts in one go. This clearly shows they aren’t yours and the cashier will begin to question you. Instead, try and use no more than 3 or 4 receipts in one redemption / transaction.
Do mix up your stores. Be sure to both redeem and womble at different stores, or the same store at different times. We call all this ‘keeping under the radar’.
Do be polite when redeeming your vouchers. It’s simple but it makes a whole lot of difference. Sometimes cashiers can be new, not know what to do, or the system may have recently changed. Either way keep your cool and be polite.
Do ask family and friends for discarded receipts. You’ll be surprised at what you find. Many simply can’t be bothered to redeem free money or reward points and will be happy to hand over receipts for you to do the same. Others may want you to show them what you do – awesome! You have a new wombling buddy!
Do visit the places that give you the best return for your time. For example, you’re likely to womble a lot more in monetary value at Asda than you are Sainsbury’s.
If you want to maximize your return you’re going to want to be visiting Asda. To claim an Asda APG you need a printer that provides good value for money.
You can’t earn an Asda Price Guarantee voucher on non-comparable items such as clothes, gardening equipment, household furnishing, consoles and games, mobile phones, toys etc. But you can spend your APG’s on those items. As supermarkets stock pretty much everything under the sun these days this could make Birthdays, and Christmases very inexpensive.
The best day to womble is Saturday, as that’s when the majority of people do their food shopping. The best time of year is December with people stocking up on food and alcohol during the festive season. However, watch out for the snow and rain as soggy receipts are no good to anyone.