Tackling the Cost of Living Crisis - 2023 Report

Feb 27, 2023
Navigating The Cost of Living at Home Report
Our research into the cost of living looks at the impact of rising costs on consumers in the UK. 

Barratt carried out two pieces of research looking at attitudes towards the cost of living crisis among 4,000 UK adults between November 2022 and February 2023.

The surveyed reveals which age groups are most affected by the cost of living crisis and what consumers are doing to save money on energy bills. 


  1. The impact of cost-of-living on how we live in our homes
  2. Brits are giving up lockdown pets due to the cost-of-living
  3. Home buyers downsize and rent out rooms to make ends meet



The cost-of-living is changing how we live in our homes


Half of Brits are sitting at home in the cold and dark for fear of rising household bills


Our research revealed that more than half of Brits are spending their time at home in the cold and dark for fear of rising household bills. In fact, a whopping 57 per cent of people are having to keep lights switched off and face plummeting temperatures at home this winter in a bid to save cash.

living costs are worrying consumers of all ages. The survey of 4,000 adults revealed that 85% of both Baby Boomers and Gen Z have turned down their heating – while those under 26 are the most worried about being able to afford their energy bills. 

research also found that there has been a spike in consumers going back to the things that their grandparents did to save money on utility bills. These include wearing thermals, as well as using hot water bottles and draught excluders.


Percentage of the UK who admit to changing their habits based on the high cost of energy bills





Gen Z (under 26)


Millennials (26-40)


Gen X (41-55)


Baby Boomers (over 55)


Not turning on the heating where I live, even when it feels cold










Turning radiators down/off in rooms when they are not being used










Using draught excluders for external doors and windows










Using heavy curtains for external doors and windows










Using clothes specifically to help keep warm (e.g. thermal tops or bottoms)










Use an electric blanket to keep warm










Brits are turning to thermals and draught excluders

Some 58% of respondents said they are wearing thermal tops and bottoms to avoid putting on the heating, and a quarter have gone back to using electric blankets in bed.

Others are turning-off radiators in under-used rooms (57%), investing in draught excluders for the bottom of doors (40%), and putting up heavy curtains over doors and windows (41%).

Energy House, the world’s largest climate-controlled chamber at The University of Salford, researches both innovative energy efficiency technology and age-old methods of draught exclusion. Part of their analysis found that hanging lined curtains in front of a door reduced the amount of heat lost by 16%. Drawing the curtains and blinds on a typical end terrace house could save approximately 2% on heating bills.



Expert tip: Drawing the curtains and blinds on a typical end terrace house could save approximately 2% on heating bills


Professor Richard Fitton, from the University of Salford, saidWe are currently exploring lots of innovative methods of heating homes, such as infrared heating or skirting board heating. However, homeowners and renters can also save money by doing simple things, such as drawing lined curtains early on a winter evening to keep the heat in.


Changes to how we behave at home are an increasingly common way that UK households are adapting to the rising costs of energy. Discover more ways to keep costs down with our guide on how to reduce your home bills.


Consumers are turning to energy efficiency as a top priority


The rising cost of energy is also making consumers more aware of the cost of running appliances. Almost 90% of consumers said that they are more conscious of the energy efficiency of electronic appliances, such as dishwashers, tumble-dryers and kettles. 




Of Brits state they more conscious of the energy efficiency of electronic appliances



The survey also identified a shift in homebuying trends, as 56 per cent of consumers revealed they are now more likely to consider buying a new build property to help save money on energy bills. 

report by the Home Buyers’ Federation (HBF) showed that consumers living in new build houses could save on average £3,100 a year on their energy bills, compared to a similar Victorian home. Around 84% of new builds have an energy efficiency rating of A or B, compared to just 4% of existing housing in the UK. 

Steve Mariner, Group Sales 
& Marketing Director at Barratt Developments, said
The cost of living crisis is continuing to affect people across the countryIt’s worrying to hear of people living in the cold and dark to save money on bills. 

The survey confirms that the need for affordable, energy-efficient housing is at a high, with more people likely to consider buying a new build property to help save money on bills.

To create the most energy efficient homes
 for the futureBarratt has built the eHome2 within the £16million Energy House 2.0, the world’s largest climate-controlled chamber at the University of Salford. 

The learnings from eHome2 will enable all housebuilders to build homes that use fewer resources and cost consumers less, find out more about our energy-efficient-homes.



Almost a quarter of Brits are giving up lockdown pets due to the cost-of-living


Our research revealed that almost a quarter (22%) of UK owners have had to give up pets due to the cost-of-living crisis. In fact, our study found that of the third (32%) of people who bought a pet during lockdown, 22% have had to take it to a rescue centre as a result of rising household costs.


When it comes to pet owners, the younger generation are feeling the squeeze the most, with those aged 25 to 34 the most likely to have returned lockdown animals to save money.


There was a surge in people purchasing pets during the pandemic when they had more time to spend at home, but now that the economic outlook is changing, this trend is reversing. In addition, over half of those who moved into a bigger house are now considering downsizing to save money. 


Steve Mariner, Sales and Marketing Director at Barratt Developments PLC, said: “People are faced with making very tough decisions as a result of the cost-of-living crisis – whether that be moving home, or finding ways to reduce household bills. Having pets in the family means there are more bowls to fill, and this report confirms the sad reality that for some, that’s simply not an option when money is tight.”  


Our cost saving tips for pet owners


The price of running a home is particularly challenging for owners who must incorporate the cost of looking after their pet or may find themselves having to deal with unexpected vet bills. Cut back on outgoings by considering the following tips:

1. Research low cost or free vet services in your area
2. Keep on top of pet health checks and parasite prevention 
3. Sign-up to a vet pet plan and invest in pet insurance to help with unexpected bills
4. Look out for supermarket deals or purchase own-brand pet food 
5. Purchase second hand goods such as a lead or dog bed from a charity shop
6. Learn how to groom your dog at home
7. Consider using a local pet food bank
8. Donate old blankets to dog charities or free-cycle sites to help other owners

Starting this April - which is National Pet Month - the UK’s biggest housebuilder is partnering with animal welfare charities, Blue Cross and the Scottish SPCA Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre, encouraging teams to donate animal food to their pet food banks, helping those struggling to afford the cost. 

Chris Burghes, CEO at national pet charity Blue Cross, said: “We are so grateful to Barratt Homes for their kind donation of pet food which will help us to support even more owners in need. 

“We recognise the huge pressure the cost-of-living crisis is having on all areas of people’s lives. Our teams have heard from owners who are feeding their pet before themselves due to rising vet costs and pet food prices, and sadly more and more are having to make the devastating decision to rehome their four-legged companion. 

“Here at Blue Cross, we are doing everything we can to provide a lifeline to pet owners, whether that is through our clinical or behaviour services or through our network of pet food banks to help keep pets and their families together where we can.”


Blue Cross offers a free and confidential support service for those dealing with the loss of a pet, more information here

A full list of foodbanks where the SSPCA’s Pet Aid is available can be found on their website.



Home buyers downsize and rent out rooms to make ends meet


The report also found 56% of the 4,000 consumers surveyed said they would consider downsizing to save money on bills.


Almost 4 in 10 buyers are considering renting out a room to overcome rising interest rates and higher energy and food bills.


Others are sacrificing some of the things that are important to them, so they can afford to buy a home. While location has always been one of the biggest considerations for buying a home, the cost of living crisis means that over 40% are now prepared to move to cheaper areas.


Others are prepared to have fewer bedrooms (33%) or a garden (36%), and more than half said they would consider purchasing an apartment instead of a house to save money.


The research also showed a trend towards co-ownership as some consumers struggle to buy solo. Some 43% of those surveyed are considering buying with a friend or family member.


As we head into winter and energy bills begin to bite again, 54% said that the lack of energy security is a concern, while 57% said that they are worried about rising interest rates. 56% of consumers said that they would buy a new build home to save money on gas and electricity.


Steve Mariner, Sales & Marketing Director for Barratt Developments, said: “The cost of living crisis is changing the way some consumers are buying homes. More buyers are looking to downsize to a smaller house or apartment, while others are purchasing homes and renting out a bedroom to gain additional income. Another trend is the rise in co-purchases where buyers purchase with friends or family, so they can overcome the hurdle of higher interest rates."


“To help buyers overcome the more challenging housing market, we have extended our generous round of incentives, including our Key Worker Scheme, which provides a deposit for a wide range of buyers from teachers to those in the police, council and NHS workers."

“We also have the Move Maker scheme, which takes away the stress of selling your existing house to move into an energy-efficient new home. All of our incentives offer support for buyers to help overcome the challenges that rising interest rates have caused.”


Thanks to advanced systems and technologies, Barratt homes are up to 64% more energy-efficient, which could save homeowners up to £2,200 per year on bills, based on HBF "Watt a Save" report published July 2023.

Sources: Omnibus and