02/27/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

A Cut-Back Game to Ease the Pain of the "Recession"

Like most of us, I'm trying to find ways to cut back with a bit of cheer in this volatile financial situation. So here are some money-saving suggestions while my 401k fluctuates from bad to worse to omigod.

You can make this a game by adding your own items:

For example: Before this September: manicures and pedicures; in the current financial situation: polish your own nails; if it gets worse: bite your nails

And, similarly:

Hair salon stylist, discount cuts, bowl and scissors

Highlights, color only, go natural and call gray hairs "highlights"

Maid service, clean it yourself, embrace dirt

Flat screen TV, a small TV, a big painting

Dine at a gourmet restaurant, eat at McDonalds, eat at mom's

Two glasses of fine wine, one glass of good wine, slugs from a box o' wine

Carpenter, do-it-yourself, do without it

McMansion, apartment, your sister- in-law's extra room

Credit cards, debit cards, pennies in the jar

Florist arrangements, grocery-store bouquets, weeds along the road

Vacation, "staycation," "moochcation"

Personal trainer, fitness center, jump rope

High test, regular, siphoned

Purebred pets, rescued pets, critters that live in the rafters

Beluga, salmon roe, "I never liked it anyway"

Champagne, beer, seltzer

iPhone, cell phone, write a note

New car, used car, your friend's car

Designer clothes, TJ Maxx, sew it yourself

Gemstones, rhinestones, stones

Ipod, CD player, hum

Plastic surgery, Botox, bangs and tape

Taxi, bus, feet

Central heat, space heat, sweaters and hot water bottles

Starbucks, Dunkin D, instant

One hour spa massage, 10-minute massage chair, rub against a doorframe

Dry clean it, machine-wash it, wear it till people notice

Waxing at a salon, shaving, tie it up

Other extreme cut-back comparisons welcome. And hang in there!