Do I have to get a crown after a root canal? My dentist is recommending it, but I can’t afford both the root canal and the crown right now. Is there any other way to protect the tooth from damage?

Yes. After the root canal the crown is recommended as the tooth gets brittle however it also depends if its the front tooth or back molar..Also depends how much tooth structure is lost..If there is not much tooth structure lost you can get a build up for now..A permanent fill..And when possible get crown..If it is front tooth small opening than can get fill..Your dentist would be best to evaluate.
Most of the time. Very often, a root canal is needed because of extensive decay or fracture to a tooth. The crown after a root canal restores and protects an already badly broken down tooth. By not putting a crown, you run the risk of further fracturing the tooth, and likely ending up having to extract said tooth, thus wasting your investment in the root canal. At the very least, put a temporary crown on it.
AT . At very least need to place a post/ and core so is more solid. Depending on how much decay there was, crown is meant to keep tooth together-keep from fracturing. Try not to chew on it as any hard foreign objects in food-bone chips, pits, etc. Can cause tooth to fracture.
Yes. Depends on how much tooth left and where in the mouth. A foundation (build-up/core) needs to be done to replace the missing structure and bond the remaining tooth structure together.A post may be placed to help hold the core in place-it does not make the tooth stronger.The tooth may be prepared by reducing the sides to allow the resin core to act as a protective onlay, kept out of the bite.