New Year, New Blue

Jan 17, 2023View the Web Version
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The IntroNew Year, New Blue
Hey y’all! Welcome back to The Low! I’m glad to be back in the swing of things, and I’m really excited about the promising prospects that 2023 posits. So far, I’m off to a strong start, and I hope the same for you — don’t give up on those resolutions yet. My wish for you is that 2023 brings forth health, happiness and good fortune. Now, onto the good stuff. This week’s content is all about helping you look and feel your best this year. Check it out: 
1. Take control of your finances this year with these money moves.
2. Incorporate these latest trends into your closet to be fashion forward in 2023. 
3. Discover the power of positive affirmations.
4. Take advantage of the benefits of off-season travel
Find more details down below, and thanks again for reading The Low!
— Chantel
The DoughFive Money Moves to Make this Year
The start of a new year is a great time to examine every area of your life and set goals for improvement. Like so many of us, you probably included some financial goals in your New Year’s resolutions, like saving more or reducing debt, but you might not have an actionable plan to get there. Setting a goal is the easy part. Laying out the specific steps to get there and committing to them is where the real work begins, but oftentimes, we don’t know where to start. If you want to be on the path to financial freedom, consider making these important money moves this year.
1. Update your budget.
The New Year offers a fresh start. So, you should use this time to review your budget. Take a look at your spending over the last few months to find out where you need to make adjustments. If you anticipate any big expenses this year, be sure to factor them into your budget so that you can stay on track. If you don’t know what you should be aiming for, consider the 50/30/20 rule, which is a good place to start. 
2. Increase your income.
The truth is that no matter how much you cut back on your spending, there’s only so much room within your budget. And inflation has raised costs across the board. One way to set yourself up for success this year is to increase your income. You can consider asking for a raise at work, landing a higher-paying job or taking on a side hustle that will bring in extra dollars. Just make sure to find a good balance so you’re not overworking yourself and at risk of burning out. 
3. Reduce debt.
Paying down debt can seem like an impossible task, especially when you have an overwhelming amount of it. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Make a plan and begin chipping away at your debt as best you can. Include debt payments in your budget. Be sure to pay bills on time and in full to avoid falling into more debt. Reduce the number of credit cards you have, and pay down high-interest debts first. Little by little, you’ll see what may be a mountain of debt decrease to a molehill over time. 
4. Review your savings.
It’s essential to have a solid safety net that you can rely on in the event of an emergency or loss of income. Generally, your emergency fund should cover at least three months of expenses, but you may want to save more. Take a look at your savings and determine what amount is best for you and your living situation. Then, be sure to add savings to your monthly budget. 
5. Plan for retirement. 
Check in on your retirement savings and consider whether you want to contribute more to your 401(k) this year. You may also want to find other investments that can go towards your retirement. Many Americans fail to save enough for retirement, so starting early and checking annually will pay off in spades later in life.
Head to ToeFour Fashion Trends that are Taking Over in 2023
We’re just a few weeks into the new year, but fashion trends are already emerging to redefine style for 2023. The start of the year is a great time to update your look, and there’s plenty of inspo to be found in this year’s style trends. If you want to be fashion-forward this year, you’ll definitely want to incorporate these four trends into your wardrobe.
Unique Utilitarian Cargo
Function and fashion meet again with the return of the cargo trend. But this time, cargo is more inventive and adventurous, going far beyond the basic and drab khaki and olive options. Think tailored trousers with a plethora of pockets made from elevated fabrics in all sorts of prints and colors.
Sheer Delight
See-through looks have gone from the red carpet and runway to ready-to-wear street style. Delicate organza and chic chiffon will likely dominate this spring. So, be bold and bare it all this year with a transparent top or bottom. 
Unconventional Denim
Denim is one of those trends that never goes out of style, but this year fashion is really pushing the limit on how denim is worn. Look out for denim in unconventional ways, like bralettes and boots. Also expect traditional jeans to be embellished with grommets, jewels and other details.
Blue Hues
Blue is back as this year’s most emergent color story. Expect cobalt and cerulean to crop up everywhere. The cool color palette is easy to work into any wardrobe and serves as a great contrast to 2022’s saccharine Barbiecore trend. 
The FlowThe Power of Positive Affirmations
Despite the old adage about sticks and stones, words have power. The words that you use mean things, and they can have a huge impact on your life. If you struggle with negative self-talk or an antagonistic inner monologue, you can probably see how these kinds of words and thoughts influence your day-to-day. You may be fearful, doubtful and riddled with anxiety. Not to say that you can solve every problem by thinking and speaking more positively, but by being more mindful of the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself, you can improve your self image and confidence, which can in turn, improve your life. If you want to change negative thinking patterns, consider incorporating positive affirmations into your daily routine. 
What is a positive affirmation?
So, let’s start by defining what a positive affirmation is. Pretty much, it’s a sentence, or series of sentences, consisting of powerful words that form a positive statement. When repeated frequently, this statement taps into your subconscious and conscious mind to inspire and motivate you. To some extent, it’s about faking it til you make it. When you begin reciting positive affirmations, you may not initially believe the statements to be true. But over time, they can become your reality. 
What does the science say?
You may be thinking that this all sounds like a bunch of hocus-pocus. But science has proven the effectiveness of positive affirmations. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections. More simply, it’s the brain’s ability to change and adapt due to experience. The way that you use your brain alters it. If you repeat positive affirmations regularly, the brain will adapt to thinking more positively. The same is true for negative thoughts, so you want to create positive thought patterns in your brain by repeating positive affirmations. Furthermore, self-affirmation theory is a psychological theory that considers the ways people adapt to experiences and information that poses a threat to their identity. Based on this theory, we maintain self-integrity by affirming our beliefs and core values in a positive way. 
What are the benefits?
The benefits of positive affirmations are many. You can enjoy a boost in positivity, self-esteem and self-confidence. You may become more resilient to stress. You may also find yourself being more productive and better positioned to accomplish your goals. Positive affirmations are simple and easy to do, so the risk-to-reward ratio is definitely in your favor. To be clear, positive affirmations are not a substitute for mental health intervention when dealing with serious issues like depression, anxiety or other conditions. That being said, working affirmations into your daily routine can help improve your mood and overall outlook.
Where do I start?
Incorporating positive affirmations into your life is easy. You can come up with your own statement or find thousands of examples online. A good way to get in the habit is to write your affirmations down on a post-it and stick it to your mirror, door, desk or anywhere else that you visit daily. Recite them aloud at least once a day. It may seem awkward at first, but eventually it will become second nature. See for yourself how this simple practice can transform your self-perception and outlook overtime. You can do it.
The GoWhy You Should Travel During the Off-Season
2023 is shaping up to be a pretty good year for travel. Though the pandemic isn’t over yet, many of the restrictions we’ve seen in the last few years have been relaxed. And despite inflation, people are eager to get back to taking trips and escaping to new vistas. Summer is the busiest travel season, which means higher hotel rates and airfare during the warmer months. One savvy way to avoid the pitfalls of summertime travel is to take your trips during the off-season, which is between November and February, excluding the holidays. So, to cut to the chase, here are a few reasons why the off-season is the one of the best times of year to travel.
Cheaper Rates
Booking flights and hotels is usually the most expensive part of traveling, so you’ll be glad to know that you can save significantly on these costs when traveling during the off-season. Enjoy extra savings on flights by traveling on non-peak days, which are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can save up to 20% by doing so. Also check for snowbird specials on accommodations and similar promotions during the off season. Take advantage of discounted rates on flights, hotels and rental cars and use the savings to enjoy a longer trip. 
Less Crowds
One major benefit of off-season travel is avoiding the crowds. June, July and August are the busiest months for travel, as families book trips to domestic and exotic locales during the summer break. You can enjoy these same destinations during the cooler months without hordes of tourists crowding out every site you visit.
More Authentic Experiences
When your destination isn’t teeming with tourists, you can enjoy more authentic experiences because it’s pretty much just you and the locals. They can tip you off to the best places to eat as well as the best things to see and do that are off the beaten path. You’ll get the inside scoop from locals, making for a more unique and memorable experience.
Hand-Picked Promo
    •  Nominations for Connect Savannah’s Best of Savannah are open now through Jan. 31. Be sure to nominate your favorites this month. •  The Southeast Georgia Leadership Forum will take place Feb. 27-28 this year. It’s a rare opportunity to hear from insightful leaders from a variety of professional backgrounds. Get your tickets today! •  Want to be happier in 2023? Here’s the one thing you should focus on according to this NPR article.
Written by Chantel Britton
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