Tesco double Clubcard points return

Tesco trolliesGareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Tesco has made a major u-turn on its policy of ditching gimmicks for The Big Price Drop. It has announced that for one month only, it is bringing back its double Clubcard points promotion, where vouchers can be exchanged for double the value in certain departments.

So why is the promotion back, and does it constitute good value?

Why?

Tesco is putting a positive spin on the move. Janet Smith, Tesco Clubcard Director, said: "The Clubcard Exchange is incredibly popular with our customers. By increasing the value of Clubcard vouchers, it makes a real difference and makes budgets go further by offering huge savings on a fantastic range of products. We're really pleased that for this Exchange we can help customers with their preparations for the many summer celebrations that are coming up."
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However, there have to be some serious red faces all round at Tesco. After-all, when it launched the Big Price Drop in 2011 part of its big sell was that gimmicks like double points would be binned and shoppers knew they would get the lowest possible price at all times - rather than paying for promotions throughout the year.

However, its recent well-publicised woes, and its announcement in January that profits would only hit the bottom end of its projected range, have helped the supermarket remember the attractions of a successful gimmick.

Is it good value?

As in other years, you can swap £5 Clubcard vouchers for a £10 token which can be spent in a range of departments. Those departments included in the swap are: clothing, toys, bikes and camping, pet food, phones and accessories, cameras, sat-navs and audio, furniture, electrical appliances, gardening, baby and toddler and opticians.

The question of value depends on whether you have a burning need for something from these departments. If you were about to refresh your summer wardrobe, then this may be a very cost-effective way of doing it.

Check alternatives

However, before you make that decision, it's well-worth checking the rewards online brochure to see if there are any better deals elsewhere. At the moment, for example, it is running a deal where you can get entry to Legoland for £7.50 of vouchers. Given that an adult ticket bought at the gate on the day will set you back an astonishing £43.20, clearly you will get far more than double the value by using your vouchers here.

Plus, of course, however you spend your vouchers, it's worth bearing in mind that this isn't free money. Tesco funds the scheme through store profits, and these profits come from charging you a little bit extra on every thing you buy. So every penny you spend - whether it's on rollercoasters, new jeans or a deckchair - will have come out of your pocket.

That said, you're going to be charged the extra anyway, so you may as well make the most of the scheme.

If you do choose to take part, its worth swapping your vouchers as early as possible or going online to swap and printing your tokens off. The deal runs until 13 June, and if past experience is anything to go by, in the dying days of the deal you're likely to encounter huge queues to exchange in store.

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Tesco double Clubcard points return

This takes time, but once you know the cost of a phone call, putting the dryer on, or a bag of potatoes, it enables you to judge far better how much you can afford to consume.

Once you know the base price, you are in a position to keep your eyes open for a better offer. If you see a discount you can judge for yourself whether it actually constitutes a bargain. For bigger things like utilities it enables you to do a proper price comparison and see if you can cut your bills.

Don't just assume that the premium range is better, try the every-day brand, or even the basic version and see if you spot the difference. Likewise, consider trading down your supermarket from one of the big players to local markets or discounters like Aldi.

If you plan what you buy to match what you actually cook and eat then not only will you be able to budget far more effectively, but you'll also waste much less and find your money goes further without you having to try.

If you can't think of a way to get your meat for less, consider a vegetarian day once a week. If you can't find petrol any cheaper, then work on making your driving as efficient as possible. The more you can think of clever alternatives the less you will have to make painful cuts to make ends meet.

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