Dec 22

The struggle of having to choose between eating and heating

The winter can be a tough time when the frost rolls in and you’re huddled under blankets trying to keep warm and worrying about how you will afford your next food shop with the cost of heating your house through the roof (pun intended!). Many of us feel like we have to choose between a warm home and a full belly, but is this necessary or can we have both?

We heard from icount, the prepaid mastercard providers, who spoke to 1,000 people from all over the UK. After chatting about the utility bills, they discovered that there’s a fair few families in the UK who are struggling to choose between keeping cosy and enjoying three meals each day.

So what is it exactly that’s causing families to choose between eating and heating? Read on to find out more and to discover ways of saving money to afford the two.


The statistics

Of all the people that icount spoke to, a massive third of them admitted that they have had to make a choice between sticking the heating on or enjoying a family meal together. Not only that, but around 20% of them also owe money to their gas or electricity supplier – over £100, to be precise!

Having to make this decision isn’t good for anyone, not only for your stress levels but for your overall health, too! Avoiding utility bills and getting into arrears can impact your credit, so it’s important to find ways of cutting money elsewhere, to afford the heating and your weekly food shop at the same time.


Putting some woolies on just won’t do

When you start to feel the first nip of winter in the home, chances are you tend to just reach for an extra layer, some slipper socks and a hot brew to keep you toasty. While I’m sure you can find numerous ways to stay slightly warm and avoid turning the heating on, did you know your house could be feeling the wrath of winter, too?

Young woman wearing woolly hat breathing on her hands to keep warmWithout heating circulating throughout your home, damp can develop. If you thought you had trouble affording the heating, try affording to pay for the costly repairs that damp can bring! Not only that, but damp can damage you and your family’s health, particularly if younger children live in the home.

To keep your family healthy without spending too much on the heating, aim to keep your home at 18°C at the very least. You could even download an app onto your phone that helps you keep on top of your home’s temperature when you’re out and about.


Things get “heated” when discussing the heating

couple arguing

When you live with other people, the chances are you’re all going to have a difference in opinion on when it’s warm and when it’s cold. In fact, the survey that icount carried out actually found that around half of the people they spoke to had bickered about heating with those they lived with.



Keep your costs down for a full belly and a warm home

Having to make the decision between living in a cold home or limiting the amount of food you eat should never be a decision you have to make. If you worry about the cost of your heating bill or food shops regularly, there’s plenty of ways to make the two cheaper, without sacrificing your health and happiness.

  • The struggle of having to choose between eating and heatingGive your boiler the once over: Have a registered engineer service your boiler to make sure it’s running as well as it could be. When your boiler isn’t up to scratch, you can end up spending a lot more money on your heating than you should.
  • Take a trip around your house and make sure each of the door seals aren’t broken or haven’t slipped out of place. You wouldn’t believe the amount of cold air that can make its way through a tiny gap.
  • If you’re not using a room, close the door behind you. It’ll stop heat from escaping into rooms that don’t need it at the time.
  • Check out different energy suppliers and their costs regularly. More often than not, you will save a lot more money by switching than you would staying with your current supplier. Being loyal to one company doesn’t necessarily work in your favour when it comes to the energy industry!
  • burning woodEach week, make a plan of the food you will need for the days ahead. You could even plan to cook a batch of the same meal and freeze what you won’t use that week. Spending 20 minutes or so planning out the week ahead can save you a ton of money in the long run.
  • Never go shopping when you’re feeling peckish! It’s a mistake that so many people make, one which can cost you pounds each time you shop. If you’re hungry when you shop, you’ll end up throwing in a few snacks into your trolley along your trip up and down the aisles. Food that you didn’t plan to buy doesn’t need to go in the trolley!
  • Keep an out for the best supermarket offers. You’ll begin to notice that each store will have different offers than another. If you have a few local supermarkets closeby to one another, it might be worth checking out their deals and getting your weekly groceries from them all, rather than sticking to one.

These are just a few simple ways you can start to make savings to the cost of heating and food, but if you have any of your own, feel free to share them with us.

MoneyMagpie UKpower

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2 thoughts on The struggle of having to choose between eating and heating

    1. Yes I agree. There are so many ways to share too. I’ve just given away some old pots and pans and other kitchen utensils through They were things that I know the charity shop wouldn’t have sold but someone was very grateful for them (in fact I had 6 people asking for them).

      If we shared more we would all have enough. So simple really.


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