Mesh Patchwork

First time poster here.

I’m a novice with blender and practicing. So I decided to model an original character of sorts, but went with starting on a base human model and work on it from there. I am combining separate head and body meshes, since I disliked the head on the original base model. While I was able to make a smooth combination, the job honestly feels patchwork; riddled with tris and ngons, which are an unwrapping and texturing hassle. There has got to be a better way to go about this, any suggestions?

Also trying to keep poly count as low as possible

AFAIK there is no magic bullet, it just takes practice. As you get more experience, you will find you are creating mostly quads and less triangles and Ngons. For simplicity, try taking a section of your patchwork and see if you can get rid of the triangles and Ngons. As an example, I took a section of your patchwork and identified the triangles (red) and the Ngons (blue). Then converted them to all quads. If you can see how that was done, it should give you a start.

Good luck!

The problem starts before you get to the connection. The faces under the jaw look like they need to be filled better with more even quads, and also reducing the amount of loops going towards the throat. The flows under the ear turn back up for some reason. They could go to the back of the head/neck instead.

The flows should follow the forms which also continue over where you connect it. For example flow for the sternocleidomastoid muscle
which connects behind the ear, more or less level with bottom of the earlobe. Currently there are loops going along it on the neck even though it might not be defined as a form, but the flows for it don’t continue at the connection point or after.