September 23 is the official start of autumn. Consumers then have little time to take precautions for the upcoming winter. Because the prices for gas, heating oil, electricity and wood are exploding, it will be a very expensive heating season. FOCUS online gives the best tips and tells you how to prepare for the winter.

For many people, the approaching winter will be a major challenge as their cost of living spirals out of control due to runaway inflation and rising energy costs. FOCUS online gives tips on how to get through the expensive winter well.

The basic rule is: keep a household book. You quickly get an overview of where you spend a lot of money and where savings potential is hidden. So don’t throw money out the window unnecessarily.

You can drastically reduce your heating costs without freezing. For example, you should take care of the insulation of free-standing heating pipes, the repair of old heating systems and the replacement of the outdated heating pump in good time.

insulation work

“The insulation work itself is not difficult, but the planning and preparation as well as the selection of the right materials are tough,” says Holger Schmidt from the builders’ protection association. Together with the specialist, house owners should first record the current insulation status of the house. Is it still completely uninsulated or does it already have an older insulation layer? This also has an impact on the possible savings effect. The first centimeters of insulation bring the most.

heating pump

Heating pumps that are more than ten years old consume a good 400 kilowatt hours a year, a lot of electricity. The costs add up to around 150 euros per year. For comparison: In the household, only an old refrigerator with 350 kilowatt hours eats a similar amount every year.

New heating pumps reduce energy consumption by up to 80 percent by adapting to the heating output for daily needs. They turn off in the summer and run at a previously set temperature in the winter. This also reduces the costs to just 20 euros per year.

A new heating pump costs around 200 euros. For the installation you have to reckon with a similar sum again. The new purchase paid for itself after just a few years.

If the balance of the hydraulics is disturbed, the boiler no longer heats all the radiators evenly. If you notice that some radiators are warmer than others at the same temperature, you should act. Another indication of a defective hydraulic balance is a clearly audible flow noise on the radiator.

Hydraulic balancing

The broken hydraulic adjustment causes 25 percent additional costs. With the 120 square meter example house, 200 euros easily come together.

Tip: You can also save heating costs by regularly bleeding the radiators.

Electric thermostat

With electric thermostats you can set exactly what temperature you want in which room and at what time. If you leave the house all day, the temperature will drop and only rise again when you get home. You can even control intelligent thermostats with your smartphone when you are out and about.

If you use it consciously and adjust it according to your needs, the thermostat saves 25 percent of the heating costs, i.e. 180 euros a year. The acquisition costs are 30 euros per thermostat.

Car owners can save a lot of money if they choose the cheapest rate for car insurance. You have until November 30th, which is one month before the end of the insurance year, to do so.

With an Opel Astra (caravan, first registration 1999) and an annual mileage of 10,000 kilometers, a 45-year-old driver pays for a partially comprehensive tariff with no excess

That’s a whopping price difference of over 570 euros.

As the name suggests, everyone needs liability insurance. But the prices differ greatly. A 35-year-old single with no previous damage and no deductible pays annually

In both tariffs, the sum insured is three million euros. The saving is 41.20 euros.

Surf tip: Avoid cost traps: Only these types of insurance are really necessary

If you want to travel by bus, train and rail at Christmas, you should book now. Rule of thumb: The cheapest offers are available six weeks before the planned trip.

TVs, sound systems, printers and PCs are also available at lower prices in October. Reason? Manufacturers then release new models. It is particularly worth making provisions for the Christmas business.

There are also price adjustments for smartphones. For example, Apple is introducing a new iPhone model (possibly on September 13). This automatically leads to price reductions for older smartphone models from Apple, Samsung, Huawei and others.

Buy baking ingredients for Christmas cookies and other pastries in the first days of November that you want to last until the first Advent. Discounters in particular then lure with special offers.

You will then generally get away cheaper than if you only buy these products at the beginning of December. As a rule, the prices for baking ingredients increase from the end of November due to the high demand.

Also note that sugar, flour and oil are limited to “household amounts” during the winter due to extremely high demand.

Saving without making sacrifices also applies in the supermarket.

In winter, pay more attention to discounts in brochures or apps. The most important programs and valuable tips for saving when shopping can be found here.

Only go to the supermarket with a shopping list and only buy products that you really need or want to buy. You should think twice about spontaneous purchases. Food often ends up unnecessarily in the pantry and spoils there.

Apps, brochures and shopping lists can be worthwhile if you use these tips at the same time.

Always check whether the private label is worthwhile or whether you should buy the branded product – and vice versa. Because the products are often of different sizes and sometimes weigh more or less, the basic price can help. If this is lower for branded products, the brand is cheaper than the no-name product. If the value of the private label is lower, leave the branded product on the shelf.

Even if the temperatures outside are dropping, you shouldn’t rely on the “one-stop shopping” model, but do your weekly shopping in several stores. This reduces costs by up to 20 percent per purchase.

Note that many property management companies take readings from hot water, electricity and radiator meters in October and November. Make a note of the corresponding values ​​so that you can determine how much heating oil, gas or electricity you have used in the current year.

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