Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

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1. Party on a dime: frugal entertaining

[Fat Wallet] Just in time for Memorial Day weekend: cheap ideas for parties that don’t look cheap, including a “slate fire pit.” (Also check out Throwing a Recession-Buster Cocktail Party.)

2. How bartering and trading helps you make money and help the environment

[Gen X Finance] The word “barter” conjured up images of a trading post in the Old West. But for this Gen X site, it means a handful of “swap sites.” And while you’ll save money, there’s also this: “Last but not least, clothing swaps are good for the environment.”

3. Defrost your freezer and warm up to cool savings

[Squawkfox] You look inside your freezer every day, but when’s the last time you looked at your freezer? If it’s encased in ice, that’s actually using more electricity – as weird as that sounds. (Ice doesn’t cool my freezer?) Here’s a step-by-step guide to painlessly defrosting it.

4. Better leftovers, better savings

[Savings.com] From tacos to pot pies, here’s how to make leftovers a little more tasty – and save money at the same time.

5. Are paid surveys a waste of time?

[My Dollar Plan] Maybe you’ve heard about websites that offer you reward points if you take surveys – which presumably are used by companies to tweak their products. But if you’re not careful, you could end up wasting your time, as this writer learned: “Fifteen Minutes for $1?! That equates to $4 an hour.” But there’s good news: He’s found surveys that pay “$25 for 15 minutes.” Check it out.

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