Today I’m writing an addition to last week’s post. Last week I wrote about Albert Heijn Premium, if you haven’t read it yet, you can read it here. I mentioned something in that post that I have been wanting to write about for a while now. My chance is finally here! Today I am going to tell you about a Dutch thing called ‘koopzegels’, which can be bought at Albert Heijn.
Yes, another post promoting multinationals, just like last week. Koopzegels can only be bought at Jumbo or Albert Heijn. It’s a very smart way to attract customers. I will however mention again: I try to avoid multinationals and personally buy my groceries at a food cooperative called Odin. Because companies like Albert Heijn are solely there to make as much money for the shareholder and they suck. If you want to read more about that, read this post. So no, I don’t like multinationals. But they’re here and not everybody can avoid them. So, while they’re here and we have no other choice than to shop at their shops sometimes, we might as well benefit.
And when I say benefit, I mean financially. This post is not about anything social or sustainable, it’s solely about money. I am not against earning money as long as it’s done in a fair way. I would never support something that gives me financial gain but harms others. Shopping in the cheapest way for example, I would never write something about that. Yes, you personally gain, but you choose the most harmful products for the planet and living beings on it. But as I said, I am not against earning money and I have written more posts about saving money while it’s sustainable. This post for example, about earning money with solar panels. Or this post, about a special account that saves you money while you still bank sustainably. Financial gain and sustainable behaviour don’t have to clash.
Now let’s get to the thing I was hinting at. Koopzegels. Koopzegels are basically a saving system with interest. This is how the system works: for every euro you spend at Albert Heijn or Jumbo you can buy one additional koopzegel for 10 cents. So, if you spend 4 euros on groceries, you can buy 4 koopzegels worth 40 cents. In the end you pay 4,40 euros. The koopzegels have to be saved up until you have collected 490 koopzegels. That means you basically save 49 euros worth of koopzegels (490 koopzegels which have to be bought each for 10 cents). When you have collected these 490 koopzegels you can hand them in. You then receive 52 euros. Meaning, that you save 49 euros worth of koopzegels and then you receive 52 euros.
That’s 3 euros you gain. All free. Now, 3 euros might not be a lot but that’s a 6% interest rate! Nowadays in the Netherlands you get 0% interest if you simply keep your money on your bank account. When you look at it this way, 6% interest is a lot! Especially if you already shop at Albert Heijn anyway. An average family of 2 in The Netherlands spends 380 euros each month on groceries. If you spend this money at Albert Heijn or (which again, I do not recommend, but if you do), you can save 4560 koopzegels each year. Then you can make a profit of about 28 euros from the koopzegels. 28 euros, for free.
There is one exception to this rule: Albert Heijn Premium. If you have a premium membership you can save 2 koopzegels for every euro you spend at Albert Heijn. You spend 1 euro and are able to buy 2 koopzegels for 20 cents. That family of 2 I just mentioned will then make 56 euros each year from koopzegels, while they buy the same amount of groceries. One more reason to get the Albert Heijn Premium membership.
With koopzegels you get 6% interest
There are two ways to save koopzegels at Albert Heijn. One way is to physically collect the stamps. With every purchase you’ll receive the little koopzegels from the cashier. You can then collect these koopzegels in a special booklet that you can get for free from the cashier as well. Once you have saved the 490 koopzegels, you hand in the booklet and receive the 52 euros. I do not recommend this method because for the paper we need to cut down trees. That’s not sustainable at all. This physical method is the only method offered at Jumbo, that’s why I also don’t recommend to buy koopzegels there, only at Albert Heijn.
Why? Because Albert Heijn offers a second method, the online method. You have to have a customer card (the so-called Bonuskaart*) for this. This is not even a physical card, it’s also online. It’s a barcode you can scan yourself from the Albert Heijn app. It’s all online and that’s why I recommend it. No unnecessary waste. On the picture above you can see my current balance. I have saved 29,10 euros so far, which equals 50 cents interest so far.
I guess the financial incentive is clear, you get free money. If you already shop at Albert Heijn, there is literally no extra effort needed for this. There’s however a second reason why I recommend the koopzegels. That’s because they’re a slow way of saving. The interest is only 3 euros (52-49), but you receive the 52 euros all at once. You’re basically saving 52 euros very slowly, 10 cents at a time. It’s a way of saving money which is very easy.
A lot of people struggling with saving money. That’s because they look at the wrong way. They think: all the money I have left at the end of the month I will put to my savings account. However, there’s never anything left at the end of the month. If you have a lot of money, you will spend more. It’s better to save the money upfront. When you get your salary (or another type of payment) you should put the money aside for savings right away. The rest of the money you can spend.
Koopzegels are a way of doing this. You account for these savings in your grocery budget. It’s a nice gift to yourself really, when you receive the 52 euros all at once. My boyfriend and I saved about 250 euros that way last year, when we had 5 full books of koopzegels. We put the 250 euros aside to do some nice things together sometime.
Do you save koopzegels?
*I know that selling my data to companies is bad. With this customer card I give Albert Heijn insight in what I buy and so I sell my data. However, I already need the customer card for Albert Heijn Premium. In last week’s post about Albert Heijn Premium I elaborated on this decision a little bit more.