Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis made his name offering tips on how to snap up deals and trim pounds off bills.
Now, however, the UK’s best-known consumer journalist has been forced to swap bargain-hunting for a sombre guide advising “desperate” households on how to stay warm if they cannot afford to heat their homes due to soaring energy prices.
Headlined ‘heat the human, not the home,’ Lewis’s latest newsletter is a far cry from his usual upbeat tone. It suggests families strapped for cash could turn to electric blankets, heated insoles and hot water bottles inside a sleeping bag to stay warm.
“I felt sad asking my team to put this together, but my emailbag is full of folk so desperate they can’t put the heat on, I wanted to try some help,” Lewis said.
The guide, which contains methods suggested by Lewis’s readers, is a stark reminder of the new reality for many Britons as energy price hike pushes bills up an average of £2,000 this year.
Heat the human, not the home
The guide runs through different appliances that can help to “heat the human” such as hot water bottles, electric footwarmers and heat pads.
The Money Saving Expert team calculated the initial cost of each appliance and how much it costs to run per hour and week. They found that items which can be charged via USB such gloves, heated insoles and hand warmers are the cheapest, costing only 4p per week.
The guide advises layering up clothes to ensure you are well-insulated.
One reader said: “[I] Invested in an oversized hoodie blanket to snuggle up in, not used heating since!”
The guide also advised eating regularly, including at least one hot meal a day, although it acknowledged the bleak reality that some may not be able to afford this and suggested readers use their local food bank if needed.
Many readers responded with dismay that such advice was necessary.
“It’s a damning indictment of the depths to which this country has sunk when the cheerful guy who provided advice about the best savings, offers and phone deals is now tearfully providing advice on how not to die from cold or malnutrition,” wrote one.
Another tweeted: “This is absolutely bizarre! It’s like we’re describing how to live in a post apocalyptic nuclear winter – not in the 5th (possibly 6th) wealthiest country in the world”.