Looking for some affordable date ideas with your partner while avoiding crowds? Here are some ideas for you to try out.

Whether you are a couple who are courting, newly married, or even married with kids, dating is a way to strengthen the bond between you and your partner.

However, dating has several challenges. Firstly, it can cause a serious dip in your pocket especially when it involves frequent indulgences like fine-dining meals. Secondly, with the on-going pandemic, there are SOP restrictions of varying degrees that put a damper on your plans.

Here we list some affordable date ideas that you can do with your partner without causing some serious dip in your bank.

Date Idea #1. Virtual Dinner Dates

Hey, a video call is not just for the work-related meeting only! You can still communicate with your loved ones using video calls. Why not set up a virtual dinner date with your other half? All you need is a good internet connection, a digital device with a camera, and food.

A video call can be a great way for an alternative to connect and catch up with each other. You can opt to cook or order a lovely dinner.

This affordable date idea is great for couples who are separated due to the Movement Control Oder (MCO), or need to stay apart for other reasons. You can chat and chill with your partner while remained socially-distanced.

Date Idea #2. Cook a Meal Together

If both of you enjoy experimenting with recipes, take some time to create a meal or prepare a special dessert together. Try some new and exciting recipes that require two people to prepare. Tasty recipes are abundant on the internet!

Create a romantic atmosphere with candlelight, flowers, etc – without having to wait to be served and without the additional expensive price tag.

Maintaining social distance? Switch from in-person to a video call. Set up a webcam and a computer and share recipes with each other. You can even have a virtual cooking contest since you are in separate kitchens.

Date Idea #3. Go for a Run Together

What better way to bond with your partner than to exercise together? Grab a pair of running shoes and head out for a run or outdoor workout with them. You might think that is not the best idea for a date (you know, the sweat and all) but if you’re both looking to get fit and staying healthy, this can be a great start!

Exercising with other people can increase motivation and lead you to be more encouraged to workout. Bonus: you don’t need to spend money as exercising is free and you can develop better stamina and a healthy body.

Maintaining social distance? Go for a run at the same time but on your own. Stay in touch and share your experience with your partner by sending pictures of the things you see on your run. You can also start and end your run with a video call to discuss your expectations, feelings, and experience.

Do take note of the latest SOP allowed in your area regarding exercise if you decide to pursue this affordable date idea.

Date Idea #4. Dining with Discounts

During MCO, many restaurants and cafés run various discounts and promotions to attract more customers. This can be a good advantage for you to save money while dining out together or when ordering food in.

Do some research beforehand to find out what is the current promotions and how you can make use of them. Browse the restaurants’ official website and social media accounts for their latest update on promotions. Discounts are sometimes available with their partners such as with certain credit cards, e-wallets, and also apps like Fave (Google Play, Apple Store) – previously known as Groupon.

Maintaining social distance? Order your meals to be sent to your respective homes and set up your webcam so you can still enjoy a virtual date together.

Date Idea #5. Game Night

Playing board games and tabletop games are a great way to sharpen your mind while bonding together. While these games are certainly fun, you can also learn new skills with educational ones such as Scrabble and Monopoly.

Video games, computer games, and console games often make for good date nights too. Taking turns (when one person “dies”, the other gets to play), or even try splitting.

Solving jigsaw puzzles is also an affordable idea as many can be found at a reasonable price. The best thing about doing a puzzle together is that it’s a collaborative activity. There is nothing like searching for one particular piece and discovering it. This adds some sense of accomplishment that can be shared between both of you. You even can glue the puzzle together and hang it on the wall as a picture! This has a little bit of an extra cost associated with it, but it’s probably more meaningful.

Maintaining social distance? The Internet is a treasure trove of games you can both play together virtually.

Date Idea #6. Indoor Cinema

Do you have any TV shows or movies that both of you want to watch but haven’t had the time for? Make a movie date at home for some binge-watching marathon session.

Most people nowadays have a subscription to a streaming service that provided ample choices for you to choose. If you are getting bored with movies in streaming service, YouTube is another alternative as they have so many series and documentaries that sometimes surpassed the production of a big-budget movie. Complete that watching experience with popcorns and drinks, just like in the cinema.

Maintaining social distance? Choose a movie to watch in your respective locations. You could set up a webcam to see each other while watching the movie (awww!). Alternatively, you can start and end with a video call, and maybe text message in between if you are the chatty kind.


Going on a date is one of the best ways to keep the flame of love alight and burning. Even with budget restriction and MCO, you can make the best of your dates with affordable alternatives that won’t cost your wallet too broke. If it helps, you can also allocate some money in your monthly budget for dates. This way, you can monitor your expenses and ensuring that it doesn’t cost a fortune. Dating doesn’t have to be expensive when you know how to budget around it.

What are your ideas for affordable but romantic dates?

Pembedahan bariatrik mungkin kedengaran agak asing tetapi ia menjadi pilihan selebriti tempatan dan juga golongan berkemampuan sebagai salah satu kaedah untuk menurunkan berat badan dan mengurangkan risiko kesihatan akibat diabetes.

Sejak akhir-akhir ini, pembedahan bariatrik menjadi topik perbualan hangat dalam kalangan rakyat Malaysia terutamanya apabila dikatakan salah seorang menteri menjalani pembedahan tersebut. Tidak kurang juga beberapa selebriti tempatan memilih pembedahan tersebut sebagai kaedah untuk membantu mereka mengurangkan berat badan obes dan menjaga kesihatan.

Namun, masih ramai yang kurang pasti apakah sebenarnya pembedahan tersebut dan berapakah kos yang diperlukan untuk menjalaninya.

Mengapa pembedahan bariatrik?

Obesiti merupakan salah satu masalah kesihatan yang sering dihadapi oleh masyarakat kini. Menurut statisik daripada Tinjauan Kebangsaan Kesihatan dan Morbiditi 2019, sebanyak 50.1% dalam kalangan orang dewasa mempunyai masalah berat badan berlebihan atau obes.

Statistik tersebut menunjukkan bahawa tahap obesiti masyarakat negara ini berada pada tahap yang membimbangkan.

Antara kaedah yang sering dicadangkan oleh pakar kesihatan untuk menurunkan berat badan adalah dengan bersenam, mengamalkan pemakanan yang sihat, pengambilan suplemen terkawal. Namun begitu, pembedahan bariatrik adalah pilihan terakhir bagi mereka yang mahu menurunkan berat badan dengan serius.

Siapa yang boleh menjalani pembedahan bariatrik?

Menurut Pakar Perubatan dan Endokrinologi, Hospital Canselor Tuanku Mukhriz (HUKM), Profesor Madya Dr Norlaila Mustafa, seseorang itu layak untuk menjalani pembedahan bariatrik jika Indeks Jisim Tubuh (BMI) mereka adalah 40 dan lebih. Mereka yang mempunyai satu atau lebih komorbiditi berkaitan obesiti dengan BMI 35 atau lebih juga layak menjalani prosedur ini.

“Pesakit yang menjalani pembedahan bariatrik didapati hidup lebih lama daripada orang dewasa yang mengalami obesiti teruk, kurang mendapat serangan jantung dan strok, risiko lebih rendah mendapat kanser tertentu dan kurang menghidap diabetes jenis 2, hipertensi, apnea tidur dan penyakit jantung,” – Pakar Perubatan dan Endokrinologi, Hospital Canselor Tuanku Mukhriz (HUKM), Profesor Madya Dr Norlaila Mustafa

Kadar keberkesanan selepas pembedahan ini banyak bergantung kepada disiplin pesakit untuk mengekalkan gaya hidup sihat.

Menurut Pakar Perunding Pembedahan dan Bariatrik, Dr Mustafa Mohammed Taher, pesakit mampu menurunkan kira-kira satu pertiga daripada berat badan mereka pada tahun pertama selepas pembedahan dan mengekalkan berat badan itu dalam jangka masa panjang.

Sebelum pesakit membuat keputusan untuk menjalani pembedahan ini, mereka perlu memastikan bahawa syarat kesihatan berikut dimiliki oleh mereka. Antaranya adalah:

  • Mempunyai BMI 40 atau lebih.

  • Mempunyai BMI antara 35 hingga 39.9 bersama risiko kesihatan seperti diabetes jenis 2, tekanan darah tinggi, penyakit jantung dan apnea tidur.

  • Kadangkala mungkin juga dijalankan bagi BMI 30 jika berisiko tinggi.

  • Pembedahan bukan bertujuan kecantikan atau kosmetik seperti pembedahan sedut lemak sebaliknya untuk mengurangkan risiko kesihatan.

  • Ia hanya boleh dilakukan selepas usaha melalui perubahan gaya hidup gagal.

Jenis-jenis pembedahan Bariatrik

Menurut Bahagian Obesiti dan Pembedahan Bariatrik, Hospital Gleanegles Pulau Pinang, pembedahan bariatrik terbahagi kepada tiga jenis:

1. Gastrektomi Lengan Laparoskopik

Prosedur pembedahan ini melibatkan 70% daripada bahagian abdomen atau perut dibuang dan meninggalkan perut yang kelihatan seperti tiub dan berbentuk buah pisang. Dengan kaedah mengecilkan saiz perut anda, ia boleh mengurangkan jumlah makanan yang diambil pesakit. Secara tidak langsung menyebabkan perubahan hormon tubuh yang membantu untuk mengurangkan berat badan.

2. Pintasan Gastrik Roux-en-Y Laparoskopik

Melalui prosedur ini, kantung perut yang bersaiz kecil dihasilkan dan sebahagian daripada usus kecil akan dipintas. Bahagian perut yang lain masih berfungsi dan bersambung dengan usus. Pesakit akan mengalami perubahan hormon yang mampu mengawal paras gula di dalam darah bagi pesakit diabetes selain menambah baik tahap metabolisma.

3. Prosedur belon intragastrik

Prosedur ini melibatkan memasukkan belon intragastrik iaitu alat untuk mengurangkan berat badan yang boleh mengembung yang diletakkan di dalam perut pesakit buat sementara waktu. Alat ini dimasukkan melalui prosedur endoskopi (mulut). Ia akan mengurangkan kapasiti perut untuk menampung makanan dalam kuantiti yang banyak dan memberikan tempoh rasa kenyang yang lebih lama.

Senarai hospital dan klinik yang menawarkan pembedahan bariatrik

Terdapat beberapa hospital dan klinik di negara ini yang menawarkan pembedahan bariatrik. Antaranya:

  • Hospital Canselor Tuanku Mukhriz (HUKM), Kuala Lumpur

  • Hospital Gleanegles, Pulau Pinang

  • Hospital KPJ Ampang Puteri, Ampang, Selangor

  • Klinik Andrea Bariatric Surgery, Petaling Jaya

  • Hospital Gleanegles Medini, Johor Bahru

  • Sunway Medical Centre, Petaling Jaya

  • Prince Court Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur

  • iHeal Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur

Kos pembedahan

Kos pembedahan adalah bergantung kepada hospital atau klinik yang anda pilih untuk menjalaninya. Ia dianggarkan bermula sekitar RM25,000 hingga RM35,000. Berikut merupakan perbandingan jenis pembedahan dan kos yang terlibat:

Sumber: Laman Web Bariatrik Malaysia


Di sini kita akan melihat risiko apabila anda melakukan pembedahan Gastrektomi Lengan Laparoskopik. Risiko untuk menghadapi komplikasi yang serius selepas pembedahan adalah sekitar 5%-10% sahaja. Peratusan ini adalah rendah jika dibandingkan dengan pembedahan perubatan yang lain. Pembedahan ini bersifat terkawal namun terdapat beberapa risiko yang boleh terjadi selepas prosedur antaranya:

  • Bahagian perut yang dijahit boleh bocor dan boleh mengakibatkan jangkitan kuman

  • Melalui suntikan anestesia, pesakit berisiko untuk mendapat darah beku atau komplikasi yang lain

  • Perut ‘baru’ anda boleh meregang

  • Risiko mendapat batu karang


Pembedahan bariatrik tidak seharusnya dilihat sebagai jalan pintas untuk mengurangkan berat badan setelah inisiatif lain tidak berhasil. Namun, ia adalah inisiatif untuk pesakit menjaga kesihatan diri dan perlu diikuti dengan pemakanan sihat dan aktiviti fizikal untuk mengekalkan berat badan yang sihat. Pesakit perlu berbincang dengan doktor tentang prosedur pembedahan dan memahami setiap risiko yang mungkin berlaku selepas ia selesai.

Apakah pendapat anda tentang pembedahan ini? Adakah ia perlu untuk mengatasi masalah obesiti?

By Stephen Yong

Not literally on FIRE, but Financial Independence, Retire Early. Totally stoked to have my first client achieve fat FIRE a decade ahead of his goal.

FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. It’s a financial goal of most folks to achieve FIRE, whether they know the term or elaborate it in their own words.

Today, we visit the story of my client and his search for FIRE.

Who is Rover & Why FIRE

His name is Rover T (obviously a pseudonym), and this is his story, with me as his financial wingman.

Rover is an expatriate who is working in our Oil and Gas (O&G) industry. As a true industry veteran, he has worked all over the world in places such as the UK, South-East Asia, China, and the Middle East. Or, as Rover likes to say:

I am not sure I can say I have worked very hard. But I can surely say I have worked very long.

From his days in the then lucrative O&G industry, Rover was well-rewarded with handsome pay which he had diligently saved, and had also earned about a gazillion air miles and hotel points from his frequent work travel.

When this story began, Rover was still working in the O&G industry while based in Malaysia on a long-term MM2H visa. A man with simple needs and a good heart beneath his gruff exterior, he has fallen in love with both Malaysia and, more importantly, a special Malaysian lady.

In short though, his main financial goal is to simply be able to retire peacefully and stress-free in Malaysia with his better half without having to worry over affording life after retirement.

Seeking confirmation, Rover wanted to know – is his dream within reach? What else needed and could be done to ensure it?

The Search for a FIRE Starter

Rover, being a man of strategy and vision, decided to take action.

Initially, Rover tried to approach wealth managers at a well-known international bank in Malaysia to talk about his needs and concerns. Unfortunately, he was not well served and was pushed products that really did not meet his needs.

Is it because I only had a visible net worth of only USD1m? (Possibly Rover’s internal monologue).

Rover decided to say “Thanks, but no thanks” and looked elsewhere for how he could get his questions addressed despite this minor setback. Going online, he was delighted to find that a small but thriving Malaysian personal finances online Facebook community. Nice!

Rover sent us a DM and requested to be connected to a licensed financial planner for a free consultation. Our first financial date and meetup was in Bangsar where we talked about his goals, especially on his expectations around retirement. As it was our first meet, our talk was focused on big picture strategy on his financial goals, expectations, and what felt realistic.

“I am living a less stressful life knowing I have a plan in place”

From our initial chat in Bangsar, Rover appreciated the attention to detail demonstrated. He felt understood and believed he would be treated fairly and objectively. With this basis, he believed he could trust in me to assist in his journey towards achieving his financial independence goal. Interestingly, he was pleased to see I did not drive a flashy, expensive car!

Getting FIREd Up!

A.k.a. the Financial Planning Process.

The objective is to have the option to retire early rather than to actually retire. It is an “insurance policy” against events outside your control.

Moving on, we discussed and laid out the plan to look into various areas of financial planning:

  • Cashflow management now and post-retirement

  • Risk management key focus on medical coverage

  • Estate planning including will writing

  • Retirement planning and to have sufficient funds until age 85

  • Investment planning including global asset allocation and forex risks

  • and much, much more.

Rover is a great client to work with. He is earnest and diligent in carrying out all open tasks after each meeting. He pays attention to his own progress and is interested in understanding how each action affects his FIRE-bility.

Even when the pandemic struck and Rover found himself stranded overseas, we still persisted. We switched gears and moved our meetings to Zoom, where we continued to discuss, adjust, and monitor his financial planning progress together.

With a client as dedicated and passionate about his FIRE as Rover was, progress is quickly (by industry standards) noticeable. Fast-forward several months later and we had made the following progress on his finances:

  • Optimized cash savings and fixed deposits for better returns and diversified currencies

  • Optimized investments into globally and asset class diversified portfolios at appropriate risk levels

  • Setup estate planning trust and other investments nomination/gifts to take effect upon untimely death

  • Reviewed alternative investments including crypto assets

  • Reviewed financial independence and retirement planning scenarios

While the list may look short, it represents a mountain of FIRE made possible with the hard work Rover industriously put in.

Taking a look at it and comparing it to where he stood when we first spoke in that meeting in Bangsar, it definitely feels good to make real financial progress!

Fat FIRE & the Road Ahead

Thanks to his hard work keeping up with his financial planning, Rover can not only achieve FIRE, but he has achieved it a decade earlier than planned! Plus, his achievement isn’t a lean FIRE (aka shoestring budget) but juicy fat FIRE with a very decent 5 figure monthly retirement lifestyle that is scaled for inflation.

Rover is now officially Financially Independent, Retired Early since January 2021. A happy man, he is enjoying the freedom of retirement in his early 50s with his special Malaysian lady in Kuala Lumpur, from their lovely home overlooking the city, probably enjoying a burger and cold one as we speak.

Rover wanted readers to know that you have to start planning early and taking advantage of all opportunities that present themselves during your working life to the extent that your current circumstances allow at the time. It will makes for a less stressful life to know that you have a plan in place and time will take care of the rest.

He believes that financial planning has given him the freedom to explore possibilities without finances being a constraint. Most definitely a new chapter of life in Malaysia with the love of his life. So let us wish Rover all the best on achieving what many only dream of achieving, fat FIRE!

Do you want to achieve your FIRE? Signup with us and get connected with Stephen Yong.

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