1. First, you need to determine what you (or your loved ones) are looking for to make you happy. If the answer to that is THINGS, then I can't help you...and you may be with the wrong partner if they are only with you for the items you can provide to them. In my own case, I have known and stated for a LONG time that I didn't want to make a lot of money but to have a happy life, and I saw work as something to provide that life. However, when you are spending 90 percent of your awake day at a job you don't like, and you come home too tired or stressed to even enjoy your PERSONAL life...what is the point? So, determine what it is that you desire and start there.
2. There are many FREE or LOW COST places to see in the area around you that can still be the most romantic. One of the first real deep connection moments between my wife and I happened at Utica Square in Tulsa at a live music event, as we walked around, talked, and connected. We have since come back to that location for the same kind of personal time, even if just over a cup of coffee. There is also, in Tulsa, movies on the lawn at Guthrie Green and Philbroom Museum, and there is NO cost to the first one and the second one only 8 dollars for a ticket to the museum, where you can also stroll along the flowers, hand in hand, as well. Other than that, there have been many days of looking at flowers at the Garden Center, walking along the river at Riverside, and even just SHOPPING without buying or getting a cup of coffee at one of the many shops around the area. You will likely find these kind of places around your town, or you can just rent a movie and get a bottle of cheap wine. My wife has reviewed cheap wines, which you can find on her website here.
3. Renegotiate your bills. You have a lot of power, and you may not even know it. When I was dropping in income, I started calling my bill collectors and saying that my income level had changed and could we renegotiate what was due on a monthly basis. This has been successful most of the time. The biggest example that no one tells you is that your STUDENT LOANS can be put on an income sensitive plan that will never be more than 10 percent of your disposable income, after 20 years of which the rest is discharged. However, even my Kay Jewelry card let me cut my payments by more than half. You never know what you will get, as long as you stick with your PRIDE of paying more and making more.
4. Which leads me to another point. PRIDE can be a problem for happiness. A lot of time, we feel that we need to pay as much as we can to bills and make our creditors happy. This is similar to the pressure that we feel that we should be making our employers happy or our parents happy or whatever. You have no responsiblility to make ANYONE happy, other than yourself; and you have that responsibility from simply being born. By being a PERSON with a BRAIN and a PERSONALITY, you have the responsibility to use that brain to determine how best to live your life to please your personality, not anyone else's. Even 5 years from now, whoever else you are sacrificing yourself for will not remember or care that you did so for them, if they even notice at the start. So, why are you denying a happy life for yourself for them, now?
5. Roku and Sling TV. This one is a practical one. I used to pay 80 dollars or more a month for cable or satellite tv, as well as internet for the house on top of that. Then, I realized that if you already have internet, you can get Slingtv, and you pay only 20 dollars a month for your channels. That is all you need to see them on your devices. But, if you desire to watch them on tv, you can do that by simply buying a ROKU device or an Amazon Fire Stick, which lets you watch tv channels free as well as Sling through your internet service.
6. Sprint ... Not to sound like that guy that used to say, "Can you hear me, now" but now does Sprint commercials, but yeah. You can save money with Sprint. I used to be with AT&T, and I had a phone plan where I spent nearly 200 dollars a month for a family plan and only like 8 GB of data, NOT including my wife that had a Sprint phone, herself. So, after I paid off my contract of my phone, I just went in and looked at what they had to offer. Getting an LG phone (instead of the Galaxy Alpha I had from AT&T) I could pay 50 dollars down for the phone and put it on her Sprint plan, raising her bill from 86 to 125 TOTAL for both of us to have UNLIMITED data. The coverage is a little more spotty but not that much. I use my phone for my Uber driving business, and I still get the rides I want. So, just doing this combination of plans and on Sprint saved us like 150 dollars a month.
7. And off that last point, YOU DON'T NEED IPHONE 7. My LG is doing just fine, and I can still run all the apps I used to run, and in fact it runs BETTER in some cases than it did with the Samsung Galaxy. You don't have to pay for labels, which leads me to the next point.
8. Labels. We buy Great Value groceries...at WALMART...oh, the horror. Know what, it's pretty great....often better than the name brand. Do you REALLY need to be buying a label, when you can be HAPPIER in better tasting food, more comfortable clothes, and have extra spending money to boot? Better yet, make some things YOURSELF and learn the joy of doing something buy hand.
9. Uber .... ok, this is a bit self-serving as I am an Uber driver, but I do it because I believe in it, and I see people all day long from all walks of life that use my service, and the reason is simple....it costs less. I mean, consider that if someone is paying even 10 dollars a ride (a high amount) to go to work and 10 dollars back, that is 20 dollars. Now, suppose that they do that 5 days a week for 4 weeks. That is 400 dollars. Now, if you have the greatest credit you can get a great car payment that is much cheaper than that (but less credit people like myself paid more than that for the car payment), but you will have to pay car insurance and fuel for that car. In the end, Uber is just cheap. Even your date won't be that put out, if you are paying for the Uber to pick you both up and take you home. The rich never drive themselves ANYWHERE, but they are taken places buy their own drivers or...ding ding ding...ME, often.
10. Finally, I am gonna be a little blasphemous to contemporary church but true to the Bible (as seen in my college degree in Bible studies from Liberty University, even if they would reject this realization, as well). Tithes. Fact is that NO WHERE in the Bible does the church (or Temple) have people give MONEY to the religious leaders. The Old Testament passages that established the tithe did not have it being money but PRODUCTS that could be given to the poor. However, with current day religion as it is, if you brought a can of soup to your church chances are they wouldn't even know what to do with it, as church NOW consists of giving MONEY to the church, so the pastor can wear nice clothes and fly his plane and build new buildings...all bought with money FROM THE POOR. Get that? Rather than the church taking from the rich (who have more to give to the church) and distribute to the poor (those without), it is taking donations from the poor to give to the rich, much like most of the Conservative and Republican party officials of the day (dismiss this point if you desire and accept the rest....I am just stating what I have seen). So, if you want to give to the poor and YOU ARE POOR, give to yourself...the church will be giving you nothing....and God will be happy to bless you.
These points have definitely helped me live a much happier life on an income half of what it used to be. It's not about money, but it is about identifying what you desire to be happy and crafting your life in such a way that will bring it about. Doing so will add years to your life (as you live with less stress to affect your health), and it will bring more life to your years, as you live more of your days doing the things that make you happy on a budget that reinforces that happiness. I hope they benefit you, a well.