Times are tight.
As if that wasn't tough enough, finding love during economic hardship for many of us seems like an insurmountable task.
Fortunately, as a society, we've been able to cope on many fronts, and money has never been an exception.
The marketing and advertising industries are working around the clock to manipulate millennials into thinking everything has to be expensive and fancy in order to impress a potential partner.
Companies worldwide know we live with our phones glued to our hands and will stop at nothing to tie true love to dollar bills.
Men around the globe will forever think the amount of love they feel toward their girlfriends needs to be shown by the size of the engagement ring.
Sadly, a lot of ladies out there are thinking the same thing.
In this, dare I say, post-recession era we're beginning, I feel as though it's my duty to help my fellow man in the pursuit of that special girl, when the wallet is feeling a tad thin.
Go for coffee and a stroll.
Let's not get out of control, here. Coffee has become quite expensive as time goes by, but it's still within reach for most of us.
Inviting a girl out for a cup of joe is not only budget friendly, it incentivizes conversation, which, as you probably know by now, is half the battle.
Not everyone drinks coffee, but that's OK.
If she tells you she's not into getting a caffeine buzz, just offer an alcohol-free alternative like tea.
I'd recommend staying away from the booze for a number of reasons, mostly because just one alcoholic drink can get pretty pricey at most places you'd go for a first date.
After coffee or tea has been enjoyed, suggest a light walk around town.
Your surroundings will be conducive to a great chat, in which you'll feel as if you're really getting to know someone.
Do a quick lunch.
Most of us know a cheap, hole-in-the-wall restaurant we'd prefer to keep on the down low.
If you're looking to find a special someone in your life, I'm sure you wouldn't mind letting her in on the secret.
If you're anything like me, you're out on the street quite a bit and run into these all the time.
If all else fails, your friends probably know a great taco spot that serves up some awesome, cheap grub for diners on a budget.
Suggest meeting there for lunch one day during the work week; it'll be a great escape for her, as well as a welcomed break away from the boss for you.
Put together a picnic.
By now, you should definitely know what kind of food she enjoys eating.
A picnic will never go out of style because it provides the best of both worlds: the sanity of keeping money in your pocket, and the undeniable cuteness in her eyes of thought and consideration.
Ladies love attention to detail.
Every move made by guys these days tends to be over-thought and exploited.
Dial it back a few decades and go with an old-school approach to courting her. Put together some of her favorite items and surprise her with a meal at the park on a sunny day.
Throw down a big blanket, serve her plate and make her the sole object of your attention.
She'll feel appreciated, and you'll have a great sense of fulfillment knowing that you satisfied both her and your bank account.
Granted, these are just three of my favorite examples of how to land the girl of your dreams when the cash flow isn't what it used to be.
There are plenty of other ways to keep her on her toes while at the same time keeping those dollar bills from leaving the ATM machine.
Get creative and innovate.
A lady will always be grateful for effort, and if you fail to impress, it won't be because you didn't try.