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Brits are unprepared financially for winter chill

Cherry Reynard
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Cherry Reynard

Just as the transport network falls apart at the first sign of snow, it seems like Brits also fail to budget for inclement weather, according to research from Lloyds Bank.

Just one-in-four (26%) said they know how they would pay for unexpected costs associated with cold weather, and only 16% put extra money aside.

Faced with financial surprises during winter, 12% said their regular income would cover it, 8% would use a credit card but 3% would be forced to borrow money from family and friends.

Problems can be avoided with a number of simple checks, but many don’t make them. Two in five (43%) haven’t had their boiler serviced in the last year or can’t remember when it was done, while a third (36%) haven’t checked the state of their roof in the past year and a quarter (24%) admitted they have never cleaned their gutters.

However, the biggest cost for most people over the winter will be extra fuel bills. Over 80% said their energy bills are higher over the winter, averaging £69 per month between December and February. More than a quarter (27%) of bill payers worry about the cost of energy over the winter months, but only a third (34%) prepare for the extra cost by putting any money aside or building up credit with their supplier.

Jon Roberts, director of cards, Lloyds Bank said: “Winter can be the most expensive time of year with bad weather bringing lots of unexpected costs. The good news is there are simple things people can do to prepare for the winter and there’s plenty of advice freely available…It’s important to think about what you would do in the event of an emergency. If you haven’t put money aside and need to borrow or use a credit card, it’s best to understand the options available to you and put a structured payment plan in place.”

Top tips to get ready for winter

  • Make sure you’ve got the best energy deal and are on the cheapest tariff.
  • Getting your boiler serviced and pipes checked is much cheaper than an emergency call out if something goes wrong.
  • Keep your home as cosy as possible. Bleed the radiators, fit draught excluders and make sure your loft and wall cavities are well-insulated. Lagging your pipes and water tanks can prevent burst pipes.
  • Check the outside of your property to make sure there are no loose or missing roof tiles, that your drains aren’t blocked, the TV aerial is firmly fixed, and the gutters aren’t broken or leaking. You might also want to trim any nearby trees or branches that could cause damage if they fell.