How to Fall in Love with Your Finances

Talking about finances may stir up negative emotions, from angst to confusion to embarrassment. You may even go as far as to say you hate money! These feelings of resentment may derive from a combination of issues including a lack of financial understanding, the feeling of inadequate earning and the frustration over an inflexible budget. Whatever reason you have for the contempt toward your economic situation, learning how to manage your money will lead toward happier feelings and a more fulfilled life.

With Valentine's Day around the corner, there's no better time to rekindle the romance and fall in love with your finances. Here are seven tips to spark a stronger connection with your money.

Read books and articles.

Spend just a few minutes each day reading an article or blog post about personal finance to overcome your lack of understanding. Finance doesn't have to be boring! There are plenty of blogs that make the matters of money fun and engaging, equipping you with practical skills and advice you can apply to your life immediately. Subscribe to sites like Rock Star Finance for a daily digest of top personal finance articles.

Play the [income] field.

Money is hard to make and easy to spend, so boosting your earnings might help you overcome the ill will you have toward your budget. Look for side jobs that don't require a huge time commitment but provide quick cash, anything from waitressing to bartending to babysitting. Sign up at BabySitterExchange.com to finding babysitter gigs in your area or, if you prefer animals over kids, check out Rover.com for dog-sitting and dog-walking opportunities. Elance is another option for those interested in freelancing their professional skills, while TaskRabbit pays you to run other people's errands.

Move on from debt.

Debt is likely the number-one reason you hate your finances. It's like a tough conversation you've been avoiding, or a harsh truth better swept under the rug than dealt with directly. However, ignoring debt will put you in a far worse position down the road and will keep you from achieving other financial goals. Take action now and commit to paying off your debt. Combine your side hustle income with reduced discretionary spending to put every last penny toward reducing your debt. Once it's gone, the freedom you feel will translate to much more affectionate emotions toward finances.

Enjoy frugal activities.

Just because you're on a tight budget doesn't mean you can't enjoy going out and having fun. There are plenty of free and cheap activities that bring far more happiness than those that cost a lot of money. For example, being active outside promotes health and helps boost those feel-good endorphins, so go for a run, hike or bike ride. Many museums and zoos offer free admission days for discovery at a discount. Even going to the movies can be cheap when you go on discount night (typically Monday or Tuesday), when ticket prices are as low as $5 in some regions.

Spend smarter.

Stop feeling contempt for your tight budget by finding new ways to save money on the things you want. If you love fashion, for instance, skip the department store and head to a local consignment shop to find like-new threads for a fraction of the cost, up to 90% off in some cases. If it's a nice restaurant meal you prefer, look for restaurant coupons using an app like Coupon Sherpa for discounts and freebies. Ultimately, there are tons of tools to help you save money, so make it a point to seek out these resources and avoid paying full price.

Look at the big picture.

It's easy to feel frustrated when you can't enjoy your hard-earned dollars because you're paying off debt, but it's important to keep the big picture in mind. Remember that you're in it for the long haul and your future lifestyle will be much more flexible thanks to your current efforts to become financially free. This will help you realize the struggles you face now will be well worth it in the end. You may consider creating a vision board of all the things you want in your life. This provides clarity and helps maintain focus on the goals you're working toward.

Gift yourself.

As you adopt new financial habits, be careful not to get burnt out. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your money requires a level of balance that includes rewards from time to time. While it's okay to indulge, just make sure it doesn't become a regular practice that otherwise compromises all the hard work you've put in. When considering a reward, focus on experiences over things which provide lifelong memories instead!

Seek counseling.

A financial advisor can help you better understand and manage your financial situation while also growing your wealth faster so you enjoy life to the fullest. It's important to find the right advisor and this can be difficult when you have a bad relationship with your finances, since you're apt to leave every decision up to someone else. Learn how to find a financial advisor you can trust and don't be afraid to "shop around" until you find someone with whom you're comfortable.