Are Brits Having to Make a Choice Between Heating or Eating?

Winter is on its way and that means wrapping up warm in cosy knits and enjoying some warm, hearty food in a heated home. Or does it? That’s the ideal scenario anyway, but recent research from iCount has found that this often isn’t the case.

Read on to find out what is happening, why it’s happening, as well as the impact this is having on families and what can be done to rectify it.


Heating or Eating


Are Brits Having to Make a Choice Between Heating or Eating?


The majority of us are putting off putting the heating on

When speaking to 1,000 people from the UK, iCount discovered that over two thirds of households are limiting their heating, by leaving it as long as possible before switching it on. Not only that, but almost three quarters of those surveyed said that refused to switch the heating on, even when they felt cold.

Restricting the heating for as long as possible is a cause for concern, as not only can it lead to household issues such as damp, but it’s not healthy for the family either. Warming up the house should be done before the family feels the cold, or before the temperature inside reaches below 18°C.


When do households choose to turn their heating on?

October and November are the most popular months for households to turn their heating on. November takes the lead just slightly, most likely due to those who restrict their heating for as long as possible.

This is actually a positive to be taken from the findings, as it tends to be around this time of year when the cold weather kicks in. On the other hand, there are still over 20% of households from the survey that are leaving it as late as December through to March, which is too late to be keeping the cold out.


How do heating decisions affect the family?

Of course, in households with more than 1 resident, there’s bound to be some difference in opinion on anything, including when to turn the heating on. The research found that a huge majority of 72% of women tend to restrict the heating in the home, compared to 65% of men.

Not only that, but almost half of those surveyed admitted to having arguments with other members of the household, about whether or not to turn the heating on.


Why is this happening?

It seems that money plays a crucial part in these decisions. Shockingly, around a third of British households are having to make the choice between heating their home or eating enough food, which is most commonly down to their finances.

There shouldn’t have to be a choice between keeping warm and eating enough, and choosing between the two can only create an unhealthy for lifestyle for you and your family. Below are just a few ways to make changes to everyday life, which will not only save you plenty of money in the long run, but could give you the opportunity to turn the heating on and enjoy some grub:

  1. Check for draughts that could be making your home an awful lot cooler than it should be. Investing in some draught excluders could save you over £50 each year!
  1. Make sure your boiler is working as well as it could be, by having it serviced annually. If it isn’t up to scratch, your energy bills could be more costly than they should be.
  1. Add some thick curtains or rugs to your home for added warmth, as well as some reflector panels for your radiators.
  1. Restrict the running of water, by turning the taps off when brushing your teeth, or having a quick shower every other day. You could also fill up a jug daily and keep it in the fridge for cold water without having to run the tap for too long. Little things like this can save litres of water every minute and plenty of pounds in the long run.
  1. Keep an eye on suppliers and their costs, as these can often change and you might find something cheaper. Switch suppliers when it’s in your best interest and make sure you get a fixed price, to avoid any price increases.
  1. Plan out your weekly meals. Shopping without a plan can often result in you spending much more money on food that you might not need. Having a structured plan of what meals and snacks you’re going to eat that week can save you a lot of money every month.
  1. Compare supermarket costs to discover the best prices for your favourite foods. This might change every week depending on offers, and you could save yourself plenty of money to go towards bills or the odd treat, with a little bit of research. My Supermarket is a great online comparison tools for checking the price of products and brands at leading supermarkets.


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  1. November 16, 2016 / 08:01

    Excellent post. Last year we ended up with a blue mold on the back of some furniture. We were told this was because we hadn’t enough ventilation in the room. So now we have to have the heating on when the temperature drops and the window open – which always seems counter productive to me. I dread to think how much damp we would have if we couldn’t afford to put the heating on at all.

  2. December 5, 2016 / 13:24

    It’s crazy that one in ten people have over 6 months arrears owed on their water bills. The council tax statistic doesn’t surprise me so much, in my experience of the debt management industry it was the one that scared people the most. The moment you start paying for your bills using credit, it’s the start of a very slippery slope!

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