Winter fuel worries mean that half of Yorkshire residents will be making cut backs to afford their heating bills in the coming months. New research has shown that 69% of people are worried about rising bills.

home-heatingThe research revealed:
*   One in eight will cut back on food to afford heating bills
*   One in six will reduce Christmas spending to stay warm
*   Socialising tops the list of winter sacrifices as temperatures drop

The national survey – carried out by Radflek Radiator Reflectors – has also unveiled that seasonal socialising, trips away and even Christmas presents will be off the agenda for many this year, as 69% worry about bills going up.

The top winter sacrifices for 2014 (Based on the cutbacks Yorkshire residents will make to afford their heating bills)

1. Going out (33%)

2. Personal luxuries (29%) – e.g. the gym, clothes, etc.

3. Christmas presents (18%)

4. Holidays (15%)

5. Grocery shopping (13%)

Going out tops the list of winter cutbacks, with one in three planning to forego seasonal socialising to keep costs down in line with rising bills. More than a quarter are slashing spending on treats (such as gym memberships or shopping for new clothes), and holidays are being put on the backburner for 15% of Yorkshire residents. Christmas celebrations also take a hit, with more than once in six spending less on presents this year to keep homes heated.

Nationally, 18-24 year-olds will be hit hardest by the heating or eating dilemma, with one in five spending less on food to pay the bills, whilst the over 55s are most likely to sacrifice personal treats. With the cold weather drawing in, women are planning to make more cutbacks than men – with personal luxuries the first outgoings to be axed in a bid to keep costs down during the heating season.

“With winter now upon us and the mercury dropping, heating bills are a major worry for most households – and people are planning to go to drastic lengths just to make ends meet this year,” says Georgie Croft, marketing director at Radflek. “Whether we’re reigning in our Christmas spending or reaching the extreme of choosing between heating and eating, these results show that excessive energy costs are a problem across the board, and people are trying to take matters into their own hands by making personal sacrifices. A huge three quarters of Yorkshire residents have even admitted to rationing the heat they use.

“This is why Radflek has launched the #WinterWarmup campaign. It’s all about making people aware of the small, low-cost and easy home improvements they can make to have a big impact on their heating use this season, and help cut back high bills at the source. We’re also encouraging the public to share their own tips to help others spend less on heating this Christmas. Whether it’s lining your curtains, making a DIY draught excluder or fitting a set of radiator reflectors, there are simple steps that will help households across the country to save valuable heat and money – and now’s the time to share them.”

Join in the #winterwarmup conversation on Twitter.