Saving for something special

Saving for something special

On February 1st, I began another spending freeze on clothes, makeup and unnecessary toiletries. Faux Fuchsia planted the seed in my mind with her own Frugal February. When I read she was taking a break from spending, I decided I was about due, too.

Ever since the holiday season got into full swing last November, I have been buying stuff like crazy. I don’t know about you, but shopping for gifts for other people usually turns into shopping for gifts for me. Even once the holidays concluded, my spending continued.

Instead of a two month spending freeze like last time, this one will only last a month. Hopefully that will be enough time to dampen my desire for acquisitions and I can return to a shopping-with-a-purpose mentality rather than mindlessly buying.

Besides not accumulating more stuff and not wasting time shopping, my spending freeze has other purposes:  to save money, of course, and work on my wardrobe.

By “work” I mean:

~  Rid myself of clothes that no longer serve me because they are ill-fitting and/or unflattering, worn out, or just not likable – much easier said than done. I am still working on the last 4 or 5 items in my Use it or Lose it Zone.  

~ Concentrate on the clothes that are staying and take the time that I would normally spend shopping to create new looks with them.

~ Find out where the gaps are in my wardrobe and keep track of them in my journal and/or on Pinterest. For example. I decided I would like a white, single-button blazer for summer. I found this one here, pinned to to my Planned Purchases board and will buy it, or one like it, when my spending freeze has come to an end.

The other purpose of the spending freeze is to save money. I’m not one to save money simply because it’s wise to do so. I wish I was a natural saver, but I’m not. However, I am motivated to save money for something…something like a great trip.

Bill and I are going to Italy and Switzerland. His best friend, who introduced us 13 years ago, has a milestone birthday coming up and wants to celebrate with his closest friends in Tuscany. Although we weren’t planning on any big trips until 2013, we couldn’t pass this by.

Since Bill and I will be traveling such a long distance, we decided to add more time to our trip and see Switzerland* as well.

I’ve not been blogging much this week because besides working a lot, I’ve been walking hills almost daily to prepare myself for hiking in the Alps and for hanging by the pool at the villa. And I’ve been reading all the books about Switzerland I can get my hands on. I even created a Pinterest board where I keep all the jaw-droppingly gorgeous photos I come across.

So far, this one is my favorite. My father sent it to me the other day.

Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli

I’m not one for five star, or even four star hotels when we travel in Europe. I’d much rather stay somewhere with character, a place I will remember. And I can’t imagine I’d ever forget an evening at Berggasthaus Aescher-Wilkirchli.

At the moment, I am inspired to do the three things I am always trying to find inspiration to do: save money, get in shape and create that small, versatile, and lovable wardrobe I’ve been wanting for years. I shall enjoy this phase while it lasts!


* We’ve never been to Switzerland and would enjoy any suggestions from those of you who’ve been there. 



  1. February 9, 2012 / 5:59 am

    Oh! How wonderful you are adding Switerland on to your trip…such a long way to go, might as well make the most of it.

    Great February goals…seems like many people have the same general ideas. xxBliss

  2. February 9, 2012 / 5:59 am

    Oh you will love Italy and Switzerland! What a fabulous trip that will be and a nice goal to work towards — would you rather buy this item now, or have the gratification during your vacation? 🙂

    I am going on a spending freeze for the month of March, it is a great idea. I like the white blazer and those green jeans (J Brand?) are pretty cool too.

  3. February 9, 2012 / 6:12 am

    Good luck on your freeze!! That house on the cliff is amazing! Have a great day!

  4. February 9, 2012 / 6:14 am

    Hi Adrienne!

    will Italy/Switzerland take place in 2012 or 2013? And during which season?

    Such a pitty, Austria is not on your list. (When I read Alps first, I thought you might want to visit Austria).

    Austria is MUCH cheaper, really! 😀
    Friends of mine who go to Switzerland for hiking say “we stay as long as the money lasts”.

    Enjoy your frugal month! I am almost sure you will enjoy it, because I find this frugal lifestyle so enjoyable! I never live the other way round, every month is a frugal month for me – when it comes to make up, toiletries and fashion. I am not frugal when it comes other things, like appointments at the hairsalon. 🙂

  5. February 9, 2012 / 6:41 am

    Sounds like a great trip, when are you going? I LOVE Tuscany, one of my favorite spots in the world. We were there last summer for a wedding. I haven’t been to Switzerland for a long time, but it’s gorgeous, and yes, expensive. Where in Switzerland are you going?
    Great goals for the month!

  6. February 9, 2012 / 6:58 am

    Your trip is well worth the spending freeze!! It sounds incredible…I will look forward to you posting about the highlights!

  7. February 9, 2012 / 7:02 am

    Sounds wonderful! Love the picture! I have been to Tuscany area, but never Switzerland. It’s on our list along with Germany to see next.

    Two friends went last year and both said it was the most expensive place in Europe. Meals at any place for dinner were $100, so save your money. I am trying the frugal February too. Will you be by Lake Maggiore? My neighbor stayed at a gorgeous place on the water there and I can send you the link..

    So exciting! Love trip planning! Can’t wait to hear all about it.


  8. February 9, 2012 / 7:05 am

    How exciting!!! My parents have been all over Europe – I will ask them about some ‘must sees’ :O)

  9. February 9, 2012 / 7:09 am

    Adrienne, you continue to inspire me to look at how I’m spending (Retail Therapy …need I say more)and I love your sentence “save money, get in shape and create that small, versatile, and lovable wardrobe I’ve been wanting for years.” especially “small versatile and lovable wardrobe” … something that I am trying to do as part of creating a simple life…

    Your trip sounds wonderful … to be able to experience it with friends PRICELESS!! The memories you will be creating will last a life time. xo HHL

  10. February 9, 2012 / 8:03 am

    @steppingmywaytobliss That was my thinking…I don’t want to spend all that time traveling, and all that money on tickets for one week. And i would love to see Switzerland as my ancestors are from there (we think – our family tree is more like a family stump).

    Spending freezes are the new trend this month 🙂 My issue was mostly around thrifted items – my closet was bulging with things I didn’t absolutely love. It was time to detox from thrifting.
    xo A

  11. February 9, 2012 / 8:08 am

    @LR @ Magnificent or Egregious We went to Italy about a year and a half ago. Saw some of Tuscany already – Siena mostly – but we haven’t seen the countryside and the little towns.

    I may continue my spending freeze for March if I am not saving as much as I want. I do want to buy a few pieces to wear while in Europe – I am a hard fit so it’s best to buy it here instead of while I am traveling. I would love to find a versatile summer dress.

    I don’t know who makes those jeans. I can’t wear J Brand – I know, sad – it’s too short in the inseam.

  12. February 9, 2012 / 8:10 am

    @Fashion-isha Thanks Sharon, I am going to need it! It’s not easy being on a spending freeze this time of year…so many cute things out there for spring! xo

  13. February 9, 2012 / 8:21 am

    @Paula Oh good. I was hoping you’d comment…I figured you would have some insight about Switzerland. We are going to Italy/Switzerland this year – within the next 5 months, and in 2013, we are going to France as Tori’s high school graduation present.

    As far as Austria is concerned, we are looking at visiting Innsbrook. What do you think of that area? I think we might be able to squeeze in a day there.

    I am a bit concerned about the cost of things in Switzerland. But we are going to stay at reasonably priced places and Bill and I usually eat lots of picnic-y meals when we travel. Just grab a baguette and some cheese and an apple and we’ve got lunch.

    I am not frugal when it comes to hair either. Just spent a big chunk on hair color yesterday – so worth it!

  14. February 9, 2012 / 8:27 am

    @kathy peck We are going within the next 5 months. It will be warm! We have always visited Europe in the autumn months in the past. It will be refreshing to see it when everything is green and lush.

    We fly into Zurich and will drive to Lucerne, visit Alpenzell, then who knows where. We aren’t going to make concrete plans – we like to wing it sometimes. Neither of us like structure when we travel. That’s why I know I would detest cruising and guided touring.

  15. February 9, 2012 / 8:34 am

    @Pam @ over50feeling40 I’m hoping to get a bit of blogging in while we are there. Last time we were over there, we had pretty good wifi accessibility. But we were mostly in cities. This time, we are mostly in the middle of who knows where….reagardless, I will taking thousands upon thousands of photos.

  16. February 9, 2012 / 8:39 am

    @kim at northerncalstyle. You are the third person to tell me how spendy it is in Switzerland. Yikes! I guess we’ll be doing lots of picnics. And I’ll be relying on good old Rick Steves to help me find the budget places to stay.

    I don’t know about Lake Maggiore. The villa where we are staying is outside of Lucca. Is the lake near there? I know we will be staying on Lake Como for a couple of days after the villa. Have you been there?

  17. February 9, 2012 / 8:43 am

    My little sister and her husband lived in Switzerland for a few years ~ I should ask her for some tips for you ~ I’ve always wanted to go there! 🙂

  18. February 9, 2012 / 8:45 am

    Hi Adrienne,

    I was just thinking about your upcoming trip to Tuscany the other day. It’s going to be here quick! I wouldn’t want to travel all that way for a week either, the airfare is just too expensive. Might as well make the best of it. Switzerland is gorgeous! I still remember the films they showed us in my geography class in middle school.

    I’m trying to be frugal this month as well. Luckily we are getting a decent tax refund and I am banking all of it. :/


  19. February 9, 2012 / 8:49 am

    Best of luck on the spending freeze. It’s good to save for a diivne experience such as travelling. Switzerland is majestic; was at boarding school there. Shall drop you an email. xx

  20. February 9, 2012 / 8:51 am

    @High Heeled Life Small and lovable – that is the wardrobe I want. My closet was spilling over with my thrifted clothes and old clothes and unflattering clothes. I want to look in closet and want to wear every single thing in it. Even if that means I only have 30 items!

    I am very excited about our trip, as you would imagine. But money is always a concern. We plan on doing it the budget way – meals on the go, clean and quaint lodging at a reasonable price. I may have to work a little harder than normal in Switzerland since I am finding out it is so expensive. But like you said, the memories are priceless… can’t wait to take lots of pictures to share. xo

  21. February 9, 2012 / 8:55 am

    @~ B. What a lucky sister you have to live in Switzerland! When I showed Bill photos that I found online, he said he wants to retire there…but I am pretty sure we can’t afford that.

    I would love to have any info you could get from your sister. It would be much appreciated, B!

  22. February 9, 2012 / 9:10 am

    @LRS4AMANDA It’s still a ways off, but it will be here before I know it! Airfare is crazy – and a pain. I hate to fly, you know. So when I do it, I want to get my money’s worth and my nerves worth 🙂

    I have always wanted to go to Switzerland. I can’t wait to eat lots of cheese and chocolate!

    We also got a good chunk of moola back from the government which will help loads with the trip. Glad you hear you did, too. xo

  23. Anonymous
    February 9, 2012 / 9:16 am

    Hi Adrienne!
    I am a follower of your blog from Italy, Lake Maggiore is quite far away from Lucca, but if you plan to drive down from Luzern to Appenzell I think it would be a good idea to have allok at Lago Maggiore because it is conveniently located between Piedmont Lombardy and Canton Ticino and there’s plenty of fantastic places to see, Verbania, Stresa, Ascona (Swiss side), there arew ferries that cross the lakes as well as scenic train routes.
    Are stopping by in Rome too?
    PS BTW my son’s name is Adriano…

  24. February 9, 2012 / 9:27 am

    Lucky you with travel plans. I haven’t done europe, only the US. I too am into frugal Feb, but I have had to buy a couple of things that I couldn’t pass on the opprtunity when they came up. I am going to continue into what I am calling “Miserly March” too!

  25. Anonymous
    February 9, 2012 / 9:45 am

    Dear Adrienne,

    Switzerland is gorgeous! I have enjoyed visiting the Lake Geneva, particularly the area around the northern shore of the lake, through Nyon, Lausanne and to Montreux (I think it was Montreux?)

    Expensive? Yes. But wonderful.

  26. February 9, 2012 / 10:47 am

    Hi again and thank you for hoping for me :-))
    You can imagine how excited I am, now that I know you will visit Europe soon.

    One thing the Swiss are proud of – and they have every right to be proud of it – is the railwaysystem.

    You could enter Switzerland coming from Italy by train, passing high mountains and glaciers!

    I have not spent lots of time in Switzerland, but I liked what I saw in Zurich and Graubünden (not far from Zurich, that’s where you can visit St Moritz!).
    Caution with the trains: I would not recommend the Glacier Express but a normal train that goes up to the mountains, because the Glacier Express is very touristic, they serve meals (all the time it seems) and the staff is annoyed then the passengers want to leave their seats to take pictures (because the staff wants to serve the (expensive!) meals. Akward …

    I will do a posting on Switzerland, the part I visited. Have not looked at the photos in a while!

    Be prepared for rain!

    Innsbruck is a very charming city and the mountains are right next to the city, a cable car goes far up (design by Zaha Hadid). I have been to Innsbruck and if it is not too complicated to get there, it would be a good choice to see it.
    Innsbruck was very important in the monarchy, several buildings and churches tell the history.

    I will also post photos from Innsbruck.

    I spent some time in Italy, too and the villages are soooo beautiful! San Gimignano and its story behind the towers.
    Of course, it is a touristic hotspot. But you can’t blame the tourists, since the village is really stunning.

    happy planning!
    xo Paula

  27. February 9, 2012 / 11:32 am

    Great photo of the inn on the cliff.

    You will love Italy and Switzerland.
    I can’t wait go back. I did enjoy Austria, too.

    Wonderfully excited for you both.

  28. February 9, 2012 / 11:49 am

    First of all, happy to join in you in Spending Freeze land. I always seem to need that by January/February. Second, I didn’t realize we were both looking for a white blazer! I will keep my eyes out (and I mean my eyes, not my credit card, ha ha!). Third, so excited for you that you & Bill are going on such a great trip. I hope to start traveling again one day but at this point the kids are still young enough that it feels like I just take my mom show on the road no matter where we go. I will be looking forward to whatever you share with us about Italy (which I dearly love) and Switzerland (which I’ve never been to before). XO, Jill

  29. February 9, 2012 / 12:13 pm

    See, how excited I am about your plans:

    PS: 2012 is definitely not a year meant for staycations. 🙂

  30. February 9, 2012 / 2:38 pm

    @Anonymous Barbara, Hello and thank you for your great comment. I will look on my maps to see if Lago Maggiore is doable while we are in Italy. We are still deciding about dates right now – should be booking tickets over the weekend. Then we can plan our trip around the ticket dates and the days we will be staying at the villa – that part is just 6 days, 5 nights and we plan on being gone about 15 – 19 days.

    We went to Rome in October of 2010. We spent three nights there and had a wonderful time. I want to go back again someday to see more of it. It is a magical city.

    I will be looking up the towns you’ve mentioned. We will have a car – need it for Tuscany – so I don’t know that we’ll be riding any trains unless it’s just for day trips.

    Thank you ever so much for your helpful information.

    Best to you and your son, Adriano! I love that name for a man.

  31. February 9, 2012 / 2:45 pm

    @Jodie (aka mummaducka) It crossed my mind to buy a top I’ve been looking for for ages – but looked the other way instead. I know myself. If I let one thing slip by, I’ll keep spending. I have to be strict with myself if I want to accomplish what I set out to do.

    I may join you in Miserly March if I am not saving as much as I want.

  32. February 9, 2012 / 2:52 pm

    @Anonymous Thank you for the information…I don’t know if Lake Geneva will make it onto our itinerary. But it’s possible. I would like to see it and the surrounding towns. Our schedule is still in its beginning stages. I received a Rick Steves DVD from Netflix today – 3 hours and 30 minutes of Switzerland. I plan on watching it tonight with my husband…we should be pretty familiar with Switzerland by the end of today!

  33. February 9, 2012 / 3:14 pm

    Hi Adrienne, what an exiting trip. That looks like a cool hotel. I have missed you this week and was wondering what you were up to. I did pretty good on not spending last month, but I went to the mall this weekend so the spending freeze was over . My birthday is in February so it’s hard for me not to shop during this month. I love that white blazer, it looks great with those green skinnies. I have been really trying to buy what I have been eyeing instead of impulse buys. I hope you have a good weekend and I wanted to let you know I added you to my blogs I love !!

  34. February 9, 2012 / 3:39 pm

    @Paula We planned on renting a car because we need one in Tuscany – the villa is very remote – so I don’t know about the trains unless we do day trips or something. I’ll need to look into it more.

    Thank you so much for that Swiss post you did today. you are such a sweetheart! I hope we get a chance to meet while I am there.

    I did hear from my 80+ year old German seamstress that it might be rainy. I am mostly prepared but I don’t want to lug my big wellies – might need to find another rain proof shoe alternative.

    San Gimignano is on our list of towns to see in Tuscany. I am okay with a certain amount of touristy-ness. Too much is annoying and rather sad even – I felt that way in parts of Venice. That place is crazy with tourists!

    Thank you again. I look forward to your Innsbrook post – I know nothing about it. xo

  35. February 9, 2012 / 3:43 pm

    @Hines-Sight Isn’t that place SO cool?? I really want to see it in person but I hate heights. I’ll hold onto the mountain 🙂

    I am very excited – it’s been hard not to talk about it on the blog. We’ve known about Italy for a few months – decided on Switzerland last week.

  36. February 9, 2012 / 3:46 pm

    @jill815 I already have a white blazer – it’s eyelet and it’s sort of cute but it has three buttons and I feel matronly in it. I think I’ll take it to consignment this spring.

    So glad you are joining me in the spending freeze. It’s NOT easy! There are so many darling things out there for Spring 2012. It’s hard to ignore them all.

    Travel is hard when kids are young. We didn’t visit Europe until I was 40. I think Tori was 14 then – my FIL and MIL stayed with her and Kayla, who was 17 at the time.

    I will hopefully be able to blog from wherever we are…if not, I’ll have plenty of photos to share when I return. xo, A

  37. February 9, 2012 / 3:47 pm

    @Paula Thank you for this wonderful post. I will be showing Bill tonight when he gets home…and telling him that we need to fit meeting you into our plans 🙂

  38. February 9, 2012 / 3:52 pm

    @Carrie Teal Carrie you are such a sweetheart! Thank you for adding me…

    You should not ever go on a spending freeze during your birthday month. That would be awful!

    I like that blazer with those green skinnies, too. But skinnies don’t look good on me…at all. I’ll show you sometime on the blog. I’ve been meaning to ask opinions about that and just happen to have a new pair – pre-spending freeze, of course – that I’d like to get feedback on.

    It’s not like me to go four or five days without a post…but it’s been a busy week and sometimes I don’t feel very inspired to blog. Thank you again! xoxo

  39. February 10, 2012 / 7:57 am

    Hi Adrienne,
    Yes, you definitely need a car in Tuscany. Glad you’ve realized that already. Very easy to get around there from town to town. Lucca is very beautiful, and so much great food everywhere. Tuscany isn’t a place to buy clothes, so you’re right to shop first. Nice linen shops.

  40. February 10, 2012 / 7:59 am

    Italy AND Switzerland! You lucky girl! I’ve always wanted to travel to those countries.

  41. Thuja
    February 10, 2012 / 9:40 am

    Our daughter lives in Switzerland so we’ve been 3 times to visit. (She still usually comes here so she can see her friends). It is unbelievably expensive to eat out there! Because we usually stay for a couple of weeks, we economize by getting take-out from the supermarkets, where there is a plethora of excellent and organic choices. It is very easy to buy small amounts of artisanal breads, cheese, yogurts etc. and complement them with fresh fruit and veggies. In our limited experiences, most of the restaurants are not that great, especially compared to Italy. My other big tip would be to shop ahead of time for deals on train tickets. It can be quite confusing, but if you do legwork from home, you can get a better deal. For example, when we were last there, my husband and I bought a shared ticket that required that we always traveled together, something we planned on anyway.

  42. February 10, 2012 / 10:05 am

    How exciting Adrienne! I’m a big fan of scrimping on almost everything in order to save for travel. Tuscany and Switzerland sounds like a perfect combination, and good for you, getting in shape for Alpine hiking.

    We never splurge on fancy hotels either.

  43. February 10, 2012 / 8:04 pm

    A trip is always a great incentive to save. I’d love to visit Switzerland. I have a cousin who lives there and I haven’t seen her in years.

  44. February 11, 2012 / 2:05 pm

    Adrienne – Lake Como? Visit with George Clooney? I think you are just his type tall, leggy, beautiful and not available.
    We were in Zermatt, Switzerland for a GRAND destination wedding. The car & passenger trains are amazing.
    I agree with you about eating – shop at the market (there was a “to go” crepery we went to everyday) and picnic – don’t forget about your chocolate & wine savings fund.

  45. February 15, 2012 / 10:04 am

    We did Switzerland on the cheap by saying in dorm style housing and buying lunch (and usually dinner) at the grocery store (couple of roles, some meat and cheese and we were set). We had a Eurail pass but hind site a Swiss pass would have been cheaper.

    We headed from Munich down to Zermatt (super expensive!) and then made our way back to Munich via Interlaken and the Lauterbrunnen Valley (and spent about 4 days exploring all the little towns on the end of the valley). It was an amazing trip that I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to repeat some day!

    Good luck!

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