02/14/2012 01:20 pm ET

A Valentine's Day Lesson in Healthy Credit

You need to invest in your relationships so they will grow, same with your credit. I'm not here to give you relationship advice, but as a credit coach I can tell you that I've seen lots of clients face relationship struggles because of their credit. I do not want that to happen to you! Bad credit is very stressful on relationships. A little Valentine's Day investment in romance will be good for your relationship and it won't be that bad for your credit.

So, here's what I'm suggesting: Make the necessary sacrifices to get your debt under control and to get your credit back in line. That's a good thing.

You will love it, your partner will love it and a little spent on a relationship is a good investment, especially in a time of credit stress. Just make sure you follow these simple Valentine's Day spending parameters:

• Spend a little to express your love to your partner -- don't spend a lot and risk your credit all over again. A small gesture of flowers and a Magnolia cupcake can go a long way.

• If possible, pay with cash instead of credit cards. After all, you want the romance of Valentine's Day to remain... NOT the debt.

• Talk to your partner ahead of time and set a Valentine's Day budget. That might not sound romantic but it's the right decision for the long term. And, why not put a positive spin on your budget-friendly Valentine's Day by finding some fun things to do that don't cost very much: Take a romantic walk in a park or on the beach.

Valentine's Day can actually be a stressful time for couples facing a credit crunch because it bubbles to the surface some of the challenges of spending on the right things and not spending on the wrong things. But, with some careful credit management, Valentine's Day can be budget friendly AND a great way to invest in your relationship.

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