Banish the Lockdown Loneliness: Virtual Ways to Socialise on a Budget

social distancing

With the UK’s lockdown now well underway it can be easy to feel disconnected from our friends and communities. While some people have had to make a rapid adjustment to spending every waking second with their loved ones, those living alone have resorted to socialising with their pets! No matter what situation you find yourselves in, connecting with those outside of your immediate household is a great way to lift your spirits and regain some sense of normality. So with help from the UK Money Bloggers community, here’s a post about putting the social back into social distancing!

Get Competitive

virtual gaming

Join a Pub Quiz

Fiona from Savvy in Somerset shared: “I joined in with a virtual pub quiz last night which was being streamed on YouTube and Facebook with around 90,000 people joining in on each platform! Two of my usual quiz team played along with their families and we chatted on messenger while it was going on. He’s doing one every week while we’re on lock down. I’m planning on doing another one tonight which is Friends themed. I love quiz nights and do a regular pub quiz which will of course be cancelled this month so it’s great I can do this online.”

The Friends quiz ended up raising £91K for a NHS charity! So for fans of themed quizzes I’d highly recommend checking our Eventures who have several more quizzes in the pipeline.

Set Daily Challenges

Another great suggestion I’ve seen for families to remotely stay in touch is to share daily challenges through Whatsapp. Examples I’ve seen have included creating the best edible artwork on a piece of toast and lip-syncing to a popular music video!

Play Kahoot Games with Apple TV

Joleisa from Penny Pinchers’ Paradise suggests: “As a family, you can use an Apple TV to stream your Kahoot games against each other. Each person only needs a tablet or phone.”

Download the Houseparty App

Yaz from The Wallet Moth says: “I’d really recommend downloading the (free) Houseparty app to connect with your friends and family online. My friends and I have been hosting pub quiz nights, workouts, and weekly catch ups to stay connected!”

Stay Entertained


Stream Live Comedy & Gigs

Marie from Broke Girl in the City mentioned that one of her friends recently ran a comedy night to raise funds for the Trussell Trust.

I also spent yesterday afternoon listening to a folk music livestream raising funds for a local food bank. It’s certainly worth keeping an eye out for any events that may be scheduled and if you share them with friends and family you can both enjoy the experience together! Bonus points if you help to raise money for charity too.

Throw a Netflix Party

I’m sure a lot of us would choose to spend a large proportion of time watching Netflix – lockdown or no lockdown. But using Netflix Party provides a way to make that virtual experience more social. It synchronises video and adds a group chat feature, allowing you to host long distance movie nights from the comfort of your living room. There’s no chance of anyone stealing your popcorn now!

Watch Historic Sporting Matches

For the sports fanatics among us Jim from Money Blog Scotland suggests: “I’ve been streaming old football matches on YouTube whilst video conferencing over Zoom with pals. Beer is also involved.”

Sing in an Online Choir

Many existing choirs have moved online and several new ones have been popping up. You can register here to join Gareth Malone’s ‘Great British Home Chorus’. Sofa Singers is another option and you can register each week to be one of the 500 singers joining in online.

Become Cultured

museum visit

Visit a Museum

Several museums and galleries have launched online tours in the wake of their closures and The Art Newspaper document a few of their favourites. Take that trip to Paris with your best friend that you always said you’d go on. Who knew you could tour the Louvre without even leaving your bedroom?

Join a Book Club

If you’re a keen bookworm Faith from Much More with Less says: “Our local bookshop set up a book club via a Facebook group, so I’m looking forward to taking part in that”. 

Enjoy a Free Tour!

If you’re an animal lover Claire from Money Saving Central reports that: “Some zoos have got live cameras and have even started doing live zoo days where they take you on a tour and you can watch them feeding/training the animals. It’s great for kids”.

You can find a detailed list of free farm, zoo and animal livestreams on her blog here!

Keep Active


Practice Yoga

For any yogis out there Emma from Tuppenny’s Fireplace says: “Our yoga teacher has moved all his classes and his counselling practice online. Currently using Skype and Zoom so we can both see him, hear him and interact with each other. Last night’s yoga practice was dedicated to all the health workers and we stopped at 8pm in order to join in the Clap For Carers event.”

Do Zumba

One of my mum’s favourite activities is zumba, so she’ll be making the transition to online zumba classes from next week. We may have to try and get the rest of the family joining in!

Get Creative

remote supper club

Hold a Remote Supper Club

For the foodies out there, I recently saw a brilliant suggestion to move supper clubs into the digital world. Decide on a theme (e.g. Indian), order a takeaway and chat as normal over webcam. Concerned about the cost? For a lower budget version, you could have a go at making the food yourself and compare your creations! Those with a sweet tooth could do a bake-off and quite literally have their cake and eat it too!

Record Bedtime Stories

For those of you with small children Hayley from Miss Many Pennies suggests: “My 6 year old and her friends have been taking turns to video record themselves reading a bedtime story for the others to watch each evening. It’s so cute and gives them something to look forward to every day”.

Start Learning

All of this time inside can provide a great opportunity to boost your skills. Or you may decide to learn something completely new! Jennifer from Monethalia says: “Lots of online courses are free or discounted at the moment. I’m working through them with a friend while connected via Skype. Feels a bit like I’m back at uni.”

A great round-up of free courses for your self-development is available here.

Be Mindful


I’m sure all of us would benefit from some time to clear our minds right now and Lynn from Mrs Mummy Penny says: “I am a member of a PR from the Heart private FB group. We meet up every week on Zoom for a guided meditation on whatever we want. Last night we met our virtual CFO who helped to guide us with what we could be focussing on next. I love it, and find it hugely powerful in times of anxiety”.

With so many different things available, Zoe from Eco Thrifty Living has found the transition to socialising online straightforward. “I’ve been doing pretty much everything I would usually, but over Zoom. Co-working, ‘dinner date’s, family get togethers, girls nights. My kids have also had some classes over Zoom… There is also a ridiculous amount of things to do online – loads of live daily exercise classes, theatre show streamings, Park run has a virtual pub quiz and you can get free music lessons online and so much more!”

It seems as though connecting online could be the perfect solution to socialising on a budget, with no concerns around FOMO affecting your finances. Joseph from Thrifty Chap has even suggested that our social connections could be improving as we stop taking things for granted.

So it’s now more important than ever to make use of the wealth of technology at our fingertips. Reach out to your families, friends and communities and ensure that nobody is feeling lonely and disconnected at these most trying of times.

Do you have any other suggestions on how to socialise virtually? I’d love to hear about how you’re connecting with family and friends in the comments.

graphic of piggy bank


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