Almost 23 million households1 (84 per cent) across the UK have taken steps to make their bills more affordable, according to new research from Santander Current Accounts2.

Highlighting a nation of ‘sofa-eskimos’, more than two thirds (63 per cent) of Brits say they layer up at home with gloves, hats, scarfs and extra jumpers in an attempt to keep warm and reduce their fuel bills.

Commenting on the research, Santander ambassador Jessica Ennis-Hill said: “I spend a lot of time outside training and it can get pretty cold in the winter months, so when I get inside with the family I like the house to be cosy and warm. Bills can be more expensive in the winter so it’s great to see people being savvy and finding ways to keep them down.”

Drinking more hot drinks (33 per cent), getting into bed instead of sitting on the sofa (22 per cent), blocking off areas of the home (20 per cent), and using the oven to warm up (17 per cent) are also common ways people avoid that extra notch on the thermostat. Freezing temperatures have even driven three million Brits (six per cent) to spend more time than usual at work, simply because it’s warmer.

Matt Hall, Director of Banking at Santander, said: “As bills get more expensive in the winter months, our research shows households are being very resourceful and finding clever ways to reduce their overall expenditure.

“There are a multitude of methods to help manage and reduce bills. Households should check they have the best deal by comparing energy providers, look to take advantage of cashback and loyalty offers, and it’s often cheaper to pay by direct debit.

“Santander’s 1|2|3 Current Account gives up to 3% cashback on household bills paid by direct debit, such as gas, electricity, water, telecoms, council tax, and Santander mortgages. This cashback combined with up to 3% interest on the account balance is a simple way to ease the pressure on household costs.”

Lifestyle sacrifices
Looking ahead, two thirds (62 per cent) of households expect to make significant lifestyle cut-backs within the next year in order to pay their energy bills. These range from taking on a second job or extra hours (22 per cent) and sacrificing holidays (17 per cent) to cancelling TV subscriptions (15 per cent) and even downsizing their home (6 per cent). According to the bank’s research, the number of households resorting to these measures is on the rise, as just 42 per cent made these same sacrifices in the last 12 months.

Smart savers
While millions of Brits are making changes to their day-to-day lives and their big ticket indulgences, 39 per cent will focus on ways to reduce energy wastage and cut the price they pay for fuel. Buying thermal curtains and blinds (11 per cent), installing DIY home insulating (10 per cent) and smart thermostats (six per cent) were commonly cited energy-saving efforts. More than a quarter (28 per cent) will review their energy provider and switch where necessary, while one in eight (13 per cent) will open a bank account that offers cashback on household bill spend. Twelve per cent will also use apps that help to track spending to keep an eye on their outgoings.

The 1|2|3 Current Account offers great value with up to 3% cashback on household bills and interest of up to 3% on account balances for a monthly fee of £5. The account can be opened online at, by telephone on 0800 068 6069 or in any Santander branch.

The 1|2|3 Current Account pays cashback on household bills paid by direct debit

  • 1% cashback on water, council tax and Santander mortgages
  • 2% cashback on electricity and gas
  • 3% on mobile, home phone, broadband, paid-for TV packages

The 1|2|3 Current Account also pays in-credit interest

  • 1% AER on the entire balance, once the customer’s balance is £1,000 or over
  • 2% AER on the entire balance, once the customer’s balance is £2,000 or over
  • 3% AER on the entire balance, once the customer’s balance is £3,000 or over (up to £20,000)

Table one: Reducing energy usage

  Common ways households keep energy usage down % of households 
 Wear more layers e.g. hats, gloves, jumpers 63%
 Sit under a blanket 42%
 Drink more hot drinks 33%
 Turn off some radiators / only heat certain rooms 29%
 Use a hot water bottle 25%
 Get into bed instead of sitting on the sofa as it’s warmer 22%
 Only use certain areas / rooms in the house 20%
 Stand in front of the oven when it’s on to get some warmth 17%
 Get dressed under the covers in the morning 6%
 Move furniture around to be closer to radiators/heaters 6%
 Spend more time at work where it’s warmer 6%
 Visit friend’s / family member’s houses where it’s warmer 6%

Source: Santander 2016

Table two: Lifestyle sacrifices

 Lifestyle sacrifices over the next 12 months   % of households
  Reduce spending on personal items 29%
  Reduce spending on socialising 26%
  Sell items on eBay / other online outlets 24%
  Reduce spend on Christmas or birthdays 22%
  Take on a second job or extra hours at work 22%
  Not go on any holidays 17%
  Reduce spend on a hobby/leisure interest 17%
  Cancel or downgrade my Sky/other TV package 15%
  Take on a second job or extra hours at work 12%
  Start walking or cycling to reduce transport costs 10%
  Decline or cancel one of your holidays 8%
  Downsize to a smaller home 6%
  Start drinking tap water on nights out 6%

Source: Santander 2016


The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors

  1. Based upon ONS 2015 estimate of total number of UK households of 26,703,000.
  2. Opinium Research (15 - 18 January 2016) interviewed 2,003 UK adults aged 18 and over.

About the 1|2|3 Current Account
Cashback can only be earned through household bills paid by direct debit from the 1l2l3 Current Account.
To benefit from cashback and interest customers need to pay a monthly account fee of £5, pay in at least £500 a month (a minimum balance of £1,000 is required to receive interest) and set up a minimum of two active direct debits.

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its 1|2|3 products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. As at 31 December 2015, Santander UK was one of the most switched to banks. The bank serves more than 14 million active customers with c. 20,000 employees and operates through 857 branches and 70 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N, BNC.LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization and among the top banks on a global basis. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.51 trillion in managed funds, 13,000 branches and 194,000 employees at the close of 2015. In 2015, Santander made attributable profit of EUR 5,966 million, a 3% increase with respect to the previous year.

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