According to the latest results from the ‘Which?’ consumer insight tracker, Many Brits are coping with the cost of living crisis by skipping meals, and living in cold houses.
Commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). the monthly survey found that 8.1% of households have now missed a housing, bill, loan or credit card payment in February. In addition, rising costs had one in seven saying they had skipped meals to cut back on spending.
27% reported they had forgone some foods, an increase from the 21% who reported such in November. 9% reported prioritizing meals for family members above themselves, and food bank use was reported by 4%.
60% of households reported they had made at least a single adjustment to cover essential spending such as utility bills, housing costs, groceries, school supplies and medicines over the last month. The report considered adjustments to include cutting back on essentials, dipping into savings, selling possessions and borrowing.
72% reported they sought to save on their energy bills by turning down the heat in their houses, and 39% reported they were using less hot water, while 19% reported having fewer cooked meals.
The report noted, “Whilst the majority of consumers have used the heating less due to price rises, this behavior will be more extreme in some households than others. Whilst some may be able to save money on heating whilst still keeping their house sufficiently warm, others will not.”
29% of those who reduced the heat in their house reported they either have often, or always feel in discomfort as a result. 41% reported feeling physical discomfort as a result sometimes, while 29% reported they never felt uncomfortable.
According to the data, consumer confidence has recovered, but remains low. Meanwhile, confidence in current household finances fell slightly in February, with 39% describing their financial situation as good, and 24% reporting it as poor.