There are very few certainties in life, but one thing I was completely certain of was that we would never live in New York City again. We loved our time in the city when we lived there in 2010-2011, but we were so young and carefree back then! We’d never again trade the convenience of cars, cheap grocery stores, and space… right? And then Johnny told me that his company was transferring him to NYC.

Butttt we have a toddler and a second child on the way! NYC is just out of the question… isn’t it? We both thought so. But life is full of surprises, and this is certainly one of them! I’ve mentioned that Johnny’s been traveling a lot for work lately, and rather than continuing to fly to New York every few weeks, his company decided it’d be easier to just call NYC home base. So we will be NYC residents once again! We’re both excited and understandably a little apprehensive about doing the whole city thing again, but this time with a child (and another growing one) in tow.

So while we greeted the news with mixed emotions, we’re mostly excited for this next chapter of our lives. We found ways to save money while living in the city the first time, and you better believe we’re still just as determined to do it again.

There are lots of unknowns with this move, but one thing is certain: we’ll have a lot of fresh new food for thought on OFB. We’ll keep you updated on the details of our NYC life on a budget, the realities of saving money in a big city, and all the other changes this move is sure to bring. Wish us luck as we attempt life in The Big Apple: Part II!

We <3 Hiking

If there’s one thing I hate more than anything, it’s clowns. But if there’s one other thing I hate more than most things, it’s that dreary November to March stretch that many of us in the Northern Hemisphere call winter. Sure, it has its redeeming aspects: festive holidays, snow, sweatpants. But it also marks the end of some of my favorite things: t-shirts, college football, and hiking. And it’s losing that last one for a few months that makes us most sad.

We’ve really grown to love hiking over the last year. Since moving to Utah, we’ve made it a point to not take for granted the incredible beauty this state has to offer. And what better way to experience it than strapping on a backpack, putting your child in said backpack, and roaming around the great outdoors?

Here’s a taste of some of our hiking adventures this year (mostly courtesy of Joanna’s Instagram account):

Zion National ParkZion National Park

Bryce National ParkBryce National Park

Arches National ParkArches National Park

Rock CanyonRock Canyon

Stewart FallsStewart Falls

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my favorite aspect about hiking/climbing/outdoorsy stuff: it’s best buds with budgeting! All of those hiking excursions above (plus others not shown) combined cost us wayyy less than most three-day beach vacations. Don’t get us wrong, we love us a beach vacation, but hiking delivers a pretty killer ROI.

Since it’s become such a staple in our weekend plans, we’ve made some conscious upfront investments on gear like a child carrier backpack, rock climbing shoes and harnesses, and an annual National Parks pass. Joanna already had hiking boots, so I figured it was high time to get a pair to call my own. The folks at Ahnu let me the try out their Ahnu Potrero boots and duuuuude… why didn’t anyone passing me on the trails tell me I was an idiot for wearing sandals and 8-year-old Vans slip-ons?

Ahnu Potrero boots

We did a short hike nearby with some waterfall features (Sally’s favorite type of hike) to help break them in and it felt like my ankles were getting a warm, affectionate hug the whole way up. They were light on my feet and perfect for crossing water and/or corralling Sally away from danger. And while irrelevant to most (read: not me), these actually look really nice, unlike every other ugly-as-sin boot I tried on at REI. But most importantly, I could actually hike in the winter in these bad boys. You hear that winter? I’m coming for you!

We still have many a hike left to conquer on our list: The Narrows, Havasupai, Colorado National Monument, Yellowstone, Half Dome, Buckskin Gulch, and many more. And with proper gear in tow, we’re up for the challenge. What hikes are on your must-do list?

*Heads Up/Disclosure: Ahnu was kind enough to provide gear to review, but we weren’t compensated to do so. All opinions came straight from our own noggins, not some robot’s.

Should Parents Help Their Adult Children Financially?

Johnny and I read an interesting article that accompanied a mini-Twitter (follow us here) discussion yesterday morning, so we wanted to get y’all’s take on it. (We’re headed to my home state of Alabama for Thanksgiving, so I’m brushing up on my Southern drawl.) The article stated some pretty interesting stats, the main one being that many millenials who are doing well financially are still […]

How We’re Saving Money on Christmas Shopping This Year

All I want for Christmas is $$$.

How is it November 19?! Thanksgiving is next week, and then fa-la-la-la-la it’s Christmastime. For the first time in years, I haven’t yet started my Christmas shopping! Johnny always procrastinates his Christmas shopping. But this year? Well, I’m joining his camp apparently. I knew I wasn’t being my normal self when Johnny said to me a couple nights ago, “Jo, it’s almost December. When are […]

Good, Better, Best Finances

Good, Better, Best

Happy Friday, Friends! I don’t know about you, but this week has been crazy busy for our little family. Aside from having baby number two on the way, we have some other big life changes currently happening, so bear with us. We’ll keep you in the loop as soon as all the moving parts settle. Today, though, I just wanted to share something Johnny and […]

How We’re Preparing Financially for Baby #2

Preparing Financially for Baby #2

Thanks so much for all the well wishes regarding our little announcement on Friday! We’re thrilled (albeit a little nervous) to have another baby on the way! Ever since we found out the big news back in August, Johnny and I have had many a riveting financial discussion about what a second little munchkin means for our future. We reviewed this post we wrote about preparing financially before Sally […]