What have you been doing to save money this winter? 

The cost of living crisis is having a profound impact on people across Wales. With Christmas around the corner, we asked the Welsh public what they have been doing to save for the coming months.

Last year the cost of gas rose by 95% and electricity by 54% putting a strain on Welsh families

 An annual report released by the Welsh government on 3 November 2022, states that three per cent of homes were living in severe fuel poverty and 11 per cent were at risk of falling into the same category. 

As well as this, as a result of the ongoing cost of living crisis, 43 per cent of Welsh people have seen their mental health deteriorate, while 30 per cent have seen a deterioration in their physical health as a result of their financial position. 

Due to the pressure on households this winter, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis created a checklist of 60 useful tips to save money on heating.  His list includes changes to your boiler right down to simple tweaks to appliance settings, in a bid to help bill payers scrounge and save. 

To help ease the burden on vulnerable households, there has been some assistance from central government, primarily the Warm Home Discount, in which suppliers are obligated to provide rebates to low-income homes, which consists of a one-off £150 discount. 

The brunt of this crisis has certainly been felt across Wales. Libraries, churches and community centres have been sanctioned to provide comfortable heated spaces. These “warm banks” will be volunteer run and provide hot drinks for anyone struggling to heat their home. 

This Friday, we decided to hit the streets of the Welsh capital to ask the public to what extent they have felt the strain of the cost-of living crisis, and what they are doing to save money on heating with a predicted harsh winter ahead. 

Catherine Davies, 64, Retired, Cardiff.

“My husband and I are retired so it’s going to be difficult. We’re not in the lowest bracket, but we’re just above it so we don’t get any help. We’re quite worried about electricity going up any higher. We’re wearing extra clothes and extra blankets to avoid turning on the heat. We’ve got a log fire so we’ve collected wood and that’s free so that is saving us with the heating for now at least.”

Bryn Bee, 29, Shop Worker, Cardiff.

“I turn things off more, I pull out plugs, I don’t put the heating on. I’ve started shopping cheaply as well, I only shop in Aldi and Lidl now. I wear extra clothes around the house because we don’t put the heating on, I wear an extra jumper and often have a jacket on in my room, that may be a bit different as the winter rolls on. Me and my family, we’re all cutting back to be honest, just in case.”

Nicolas, Student, 20, Malaysia.

“Costs of living have gotten much higher, I think because of the war in the Ukraine. Everything is getting higher: food, bills, heating, electricity. I’m also eating less during the day so as to save money. Instead of eating four times per day, I try and eat only twice or maybe three times. I haven’t really gone out that much because I am just trying to save wherever I can.”

Caroline Furth, Retired, Cardiff.

“I’m not putting the heating on, thankfully it’s quite mild at the moment. With presents for my family I am going to choose very carefully, rather then being frivolous, I’ll be sticking to a budget for sure. I’ve got a heavy blanket that I put over me if needs be, but it’s been so mild that I haven’t really needed it. I’ve gotten a new deal on my heating and electricity, I’m just trying to get my bills down.”

Effie Carter, 19, First year Student, Cardiff.

“I live in student accommodation so thankfully my bills are all included so I don’t really feel it on that end, but everything has gotten more expensive. My McDonalds order has gone up, price of alcohol and the costs of going out have all gone up, I still go clubbing quite a lot, I just pre-drink more now.”

Raya, 19, Student, Singapore

“I just moved here so I’m not really sure what it was like before with the crisis, but things are really expensive. I’ve been looking at rent for next year, it’s way higher than it is now. I find certain groceries very expensive and as a student it can get hard. I don’t even turn on the heat to be honest. The mild weather has saved me there, for now at least”