“We’ll get over it”: Thomas Löffler is less concerned about rising prices than about Putin’s war in Ukraine. Together with his wife Monika, he has 3,900 euros at his disposal every month. But they are also feeling the rising prices. Whether electricity, gas or fuel – the Löfflers try to save more in their everyday lives.
There are only about 80 working days left for Thomas Löffler. The busy 60-year-old private banker is looking forward to more time on the fishing rod, on the soccer field or on the motorbike. Fortunately, nothing will change in the good financial situation of the Löffler family when Thomas retires on October 1st. Due to an early retirement scheme, his salary will remain the same for the next two and a half years.
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In addition to Monika’s pension and Thomas’ salary, there is income from rentals. After deductions and taxes, the Löfflers have 3,900 euros at their disposal every month. Of this, 1,000 euros go to the youngest son, who is studying in Coburg. Another large item with about 550 euros per month is the insurance for buildings and five vehicles as well as supplementary health insurance.
The Löfflers feel the higher costs, especially when shopping and filling up, “that hurts too,” says Thomas Löffler. But because they have financial leeway, they can still live well. Monika Löffler tries to leave her bus, which she still has from her time as a flower shop owner, at home more often and to switch to e-bikes for errands. While she used to pay 60 to 70 euros for the purchase, it is now usually a three-digit sum. The Löfflers also provide the three Ukrainian sisters who have been living with them since March 19 with basic groceries. But the girls would also often shop and cook, only the day before there was borscht.
“We’ll get over it,” says Thomas Löffler, with a view to the rising food prices. For poorer people, on the other hand, Thomas would like better support measures. But he also reminds that in most other countries a higher proportion of the salary has been spent on groceries for a long time than in Germany. “We’re spoiled there,” says Löffler.
Actually, the Löfflers find the “cheap is cool” mentality terrible. Nevertheless, in recent years Thomas has gone on a bargain hunt for electricity. “I wouldn’t do it today,” he says. Two providers went bankrupt and so he had more paperwork and ultimately saved nothing.
Instead, the spoonbills are now trying to use electricity more sparingly, switching off lights and devices instead of putting them on standby. The two aquariums consume a lot of electricity, as does the extra fridge where the turtles hibernate. They are now in their summer enclosure and the refrigerator is switched off, as is the freezer in the basement. The Löfflers cover half of their electricity requirements with their own solar system on the roof. But despite lower consumption, the Löfflers’ electricity flat rate will increase by almost 20 euros to 84 euros.
So far, the Löfflers have only been paying 80 euros a month for gas, and the new down payment is still pending. They hardly ever turn on the heating, preferring to stoke their Swedish stove. The wood for this is delivered from a neighboring village with the Bulldog, and the Löfflers pay 350 to 400 euros a year for it.
Thomas Löffler recently noticed how the costs are increasing at the owners’ meeting of his apartment in Bamberg, which he rents out. The housing allowance has been increased by 55 euros to 275 euros, which means that he will have to ask his tenant for a higher ancillary costs in the future.
The Löfflers are most affected by the increased cost of living when it comes to fuel. Nevertheless, they support an oil embargo against Russia. While Thomas used to fill up diesel for his SUV for 130 euros a month, Monika needed 230 euros for petrol for her van. Now it is about 330 and 290 euros. The Löfflers would not give up their hobby of motorcycling. “I’m inconsistent there,” admits Thomas. The Löfflers don’t like petrol subsidies, as these are mainly used by frequent drivers. In the meantime, the Löfflers are trying to summarize their journeys better and no longer “shuttle back and forth thoughtlessly”. Monika switches to her e-bike whenever possible. Thomas would like it if the home office remained the norm. But even with his employer, being in the office is now part of everyday life again.
The Ukraine is still a constant topic, also because of its Ukrainian guests. The three sisters, with whom the Löfflers have been sharing their house for two months, have already arrived safely in Bad Staffelstein. Her desire to return home is strong, but the time in Germany is not wasted for her. The documents from tax ID to account opening already fill a whole folder. “The girls have fun with it,” says Thomas. 19-year-old Iryna Kliamar now works 20 hours at the reception desk of a thermal spa. And because she could only find an advanced German course at the University of Bamberg, she enrolled there. “Everything worked out very well,” says Thomas. The sisters take turns cooking with Monika, the night before there was borscht.
Although it’s awful that tanks and howitzers have become commonplace words in the news, Thomas thinks the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine is the right thing to do. Likewise the upgrade. He would prefer the money to be invested in climate protection and more justice in the world. “But we also have to defend our freedom and democracy,” says Thomas. “Putin will only negotiate when he sees that he has no chance.” Should Putin be successful in Ukraine, however, he would also attack Moldova, Georgia and the Baltic States, Thomas fears. Because history has shown: “Aggressors don’t stop after success.”
And so the Löfflers continue to try to save energy in everyday life. Less for financial than for ecological reasons. And out of the desire to send at least a small signal against Putin’s war.