‘Heat the human, not the home’: Martin Lewis’s guide to ‘desperate’ homes | cost of living crisis

The UK’s best-known consumer finance journalist, Martin Lewis, was unusually pessimistic about the new edition of his newsletter, which was sent to 8.4 million UK subscribers on Wednesday morning, writing: “This is a guide I really wish we didn’t have to publish.”

by lewis money saving expert The newsletter is typically packed with the best tips and tricks to help subscribers navigate the complex world of loans, insurance and utility bills and get the best deals, from shopping to vacations.

This week’s edition, however, refers to the cost of living crisis. Content How to heat the human being, not the home it’s more of a survival guide than a consumer bible in tone. The grim undercurrent to this ingenious and strangely depressing initiative is that in the UK in 2022, millions of people are in such a hurry that they cannot heat their home.

“I was sad to ask my team to put this together,” Lewis tweeted. “But my email folder is full of people so desperate they can’t warm up… I wanted to try a little help.”

The guide is a handy list of options if you can’t afford to heat your home, a reality for many like the energy price rises and average bills skyrocket to £2,000 a year, and millions of households fall into energy poverty. Luis recently admitted that he had nearly exhausted his supply of conventional money-saving tools when it came to energy bills.

The guide covers in forensic detail the costs and relative effectiveness of a range of alternatives to turning on central heating, from thermal insoles (less than 1 cent per hour) to hot water bottles (6 cents per hour, assuming you boil a 1.7 liter bottle). capacity kettle twice a day).

It offers tips on the right clothes to wear, the basic science of base, mid and outer layers, and where to buy them the cheapest, and points out the psychological importance of socks and keeping your feet warm. The floor is the coldest part of the house, so put your foot up on a stool when you sit down, she suggests.

Some of the tips require a financial outlay: for example, a heated vest costs £46 and a fleece outer layer £13.

Martin Lewis said he was
Martin Lewis said he was “sad” to ask his team to write the guide aimed at people struggling to heat their homes. Photograph: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

The main source of expertise is not, as usual, Lewis’s team of financial experts, but thousands of its subscribers (clearly, many of them people with direct experience of living in limited financial circumstances) who have dedicated themselves to advising with value and in a simple way. wisdom.

“The days of throwing away the tights once you had them are over. I cut off the feet and put them under my pants, and it’s amazing what a difference it makes,” says Rosa. Another reader writes: “When sitting down, sit in a sleeping bag, at least the lower half. Even better, put a hot water bottle in the bottom. Warm without drafts.”

Despite all her good advice, the guide recognizes the limits of ingenuity. It can be dangerous to turn off the heat if you have certain health conditions, like asthma, she points out. Eat regularly, she advises, though she admits a once-a-day hot meal may not be affordable for some. At that point, she may need to try the local food bank.

As of Wednesday night, more than 12,000 people had liked Lewis’s tweet announcing the guide (part of a larger series, 90 Ways to Survive the Cost of Living Crisis). The responses have provoked admiration, an eager willingness to contribute advice, and anguish, especially given the quiet desperation in which so many people find themselves in one of the richest countries in the world.

What a respondent say so: “It is a damning indictment of the depths to which this country has sunk when the jolly man who provided advice on the best savings, deals and phone deals is now in tears providing advice on how not to freeze to death or malnourish. Thanks, I wish it wasn’t necessary.”

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