Nearly everyone is concerned about pinching pennies, especially in trying economic times.
There are many ways a person can save money, but some say the best way to do so is bu utilizing a lesson learned in kindergarten: sharing.
Kathy Dodrill, an extension educator with the Ohio State University Extension office in Marietta, said in many cases, the idea of bartering can be implemented.
"When you don't have the money to buy goods and services...it's a good time to look at what your own resources are, be it time, knowledge, possessions or interests," Dodrill said. "Look at what you have to offer and then look at what kinds of things you need."
She said, for example, that equipment can be shared in some instances.
"With the tasks you need done, if you don't have the equipment and can't afford it or afford to rent it, if I've got a lawnmower and you have a weed trimmer, you can share in that sense," Dodrill said.
Tips for saving money by sharing:
If someone you know has a home in an area you want to visit, ask them if they're comfortable with you staying there.
Borrow traditional books, e-books, music and movies from the library rather than buying them.
Reserve a plot in a community garden to get free vegetables.
If there's a tool you need, ask your neighbor if you can borrow it from them rather than purchasing it. Also consider co-owning expensive equipment with a neighbor or group of neighbors.
Exchange babysitting time with your friends. If you babysit their children for two hours, they owe you two hours of babysitting time.
Consider sharing some articles of clothing and accessories with friends. You can borrow clothes you each already have, or pool money together and buy a few key pieces.
Books, Music and Movies
Those who are interested in getting free books, music and movies don't need to look any further than their local library, where these things are shared by patrons daily.
"It's $35 to buy a book, so it's a great way to save money," said Justin Mayo, director of Washington County's public libraries.
While folks are still checking out traditional books, the library system also offers e-books for electronic readers, which are growing in popularity.
Andrea Adkins, information services manager at the Marietta Library, said there are thousands of e-book titles available, and they are all shared through a library consortium.
"One person can have 10 e-books at one time," Adkins explained. "There are 72 library systems in our consortium."
Library patrons also have the ability to transfer audio books to an MP3 player through the library's audio book and music download station.
Barlow resident Mariah Cline, 18, still prefers to check out traditional books. She visits the public library up to three times each week.
"It saves money and other people can read it, too," she said. "I'll read it, then share it with my grandma so she can read it."
A person can get vegetables from a grocery store, but those who secure a plot in a community garden can get fresh veggies at no cost.
Locally, folks can get plots through the Washington County Harvest of Hope community gardens program.
"It's a good way of sharing produce and sharing ideas for growing produce," said garden coordinator Nancy Jenkins, of Marietta.
Through the program, participants are assigned a plot and provided with seeds, plants and gardening tools. Jenkins said this year, there will likely be gardens in Newport, Belpre, Marietta and possibly a few other places. Planting will take place after April 1.
"They attend gardening classes before they start in their garden," Jenkins noted.
She said those who are interested in having a plot in a community garden should attend at meeting at 2 p.m. March 11 at the Church of Christ at 228 South Seventh St. in Marietta or call her at 516-1520.
"Part of the requirement is you donate to the food pantry," she added.
Coupons, babysitting and more
Finding a babysitter can sometimes be a challenge for a parent, and paying a babysitter can really start to add up.
The mothers who are involved with the MOMS (Moms Offering Moms Support) Club of Parkersburg have a system where they help each other out with babysitting.
"I babysit for your kids and you babysit for mine - you pay them in hours," explained Parkersburg resident Vicki Earl, a member of the group. "If I babysit two hours, then two hours go into the bank. You earn the hours by giving hours."
Earl said the majority of the 25 women in the group are college educated but have chosen to stay home to raise their children at least until school age.
She said they share more than babysitting services in an effort to support each other and their children and save money.
"We'll have playgroups at each others' houses and that saves money from not having to go into the community all the time...and we do coupon sharing. You just bring in coupons to our group meetings and if I bring five I can take five," Earl explained.
Another thing they do quite frequently is clothing swaps, she said.
"You trade with other moms who have kids who are a little older than yours, then they have a baby and you pass them your baby clothes," she said.