As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, winter becomes a difficult time of year. We’re in full hibernation mode and with the cost-of-living crisis, we’re now in survival mode. Across the country and within our industry, people are struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table.
Naturally, this takes a huge toll on our mental and physical wellbeing. It’s so important that we try to put some small steps in place to protect ourselves.
Here are some tips on how you can keep warm and fed this winter:
Keep warm: Think layers, blankets, slippers, and hot water bottles. Thermals are a great addition to put under your clothes for that extra layer of warmth and can be purchased very reasonably! Electric blankets are a very effective way of heating a specific area and use a small amount of energy
Heating the house: Try to avoid putting clothes on radiators to dry. It can be tempting, but it takes a lot longer to heat the house if the radiators are covered and this can be costly. Heat the room that you’re using and use a clothes rail instead.
Slow and low: It’s optimal to keep your house heated to around 18 degrees. Turning the heating on and off uses more energy than keeping it at a steady heat. Check for draughts and fix them so you aren’t losing any heat. For more tips on how to minimise your bills this winter, see our article on debt management.
Move more: It’s tempting to sit and curl up into a ball in winter but moving more and physically warming yourself up, will benefit you in several ways! Keeping the blood flowing around your body and not sitting for more than an hour at a time can really help to keep you warm. Getting out and about can also be a bonus for looking after your mental and physical well-being too!
Contact local authorities for support: Check your eligibility for Household Support Funds. Several gas and electricity companies are offering emergency support if you are struggling. Your council may also be able to support you if you’re on a low income. Please contact the EIC or Citizen’s Advice Bureau for more information on the support you may be eligible for if you are struggling to make ends meet.
Step Change: If you’re struggling financially and you're in debt, StepChange can help. They’ll work with you to put a plan in place and will assist in alleviating your concerns about debt repayments and budgeting. You can contact them at 0800 138 1111 or through their website here: Free Debt Helpline & Online Advice. Contact StepChange
Food banks: Community organisations are available to help if you cannot afford food. Please don’t go hungry this winter. The Trussell Trust is one of our amazing partners, they help with basic household products too, as well as food - Find a Food Bank - The Trussell Trust.
Contact Citizen’s Advice for more information on your local food bank. They are able to make a referral on your behalf and can advise on other options that you may have.
Batch cooking: Cooking in batches not only helps with budgeting but also means that you have a nutritious meal waiting for those days when you have no energy to cook. Freezing is worthwhile and will save you time in the future too!
Fakeaways: It’s tempting to reach for the phone and order food to the door, but making a ‘fakeaway’ is a much healthier and budget-friendly way to enjoy a meal. There are several, incredible recipes online to help you with this too – many that are also slow-cooker friendly – which is more energy efficient!
Brand down: Try swapping your usual shops for a lesser branded version. Going from premium to own branded products or own brand to basics can make a huge difference to the wallet – and you can barely notice the difference in taste.
No-spend day challenge: Take on the challenge not to spend a penny for a day – avoid the temptation of getting that cup of coffee or the sausage roll whilst you’re out. Take your own lunch or snacks and minimise the need to spend outside of the house and outside of your budget. Practice makes perfect and soon; good habits will form!