Paying for Common Meals
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 18:03:59 -0600
Zev (and others who might be interested in common meal payments systems),

Check my posting a week or so ago about kitchen design particularly as it
relates to storage and staples. As you know we have 18 adults and 5 kids.
Payment is handled as follows. Cook pays for the food for the meal. People
sign up. The food bill is divided by the number of people who ate. And the
whole thing gets popped into a spread sheet once every rotation (about six
weeks) at which time people either pay for or get reimbursed for the
difference between what they ate and what they paid for food when they
cooked.   Simple. 

But at the moment, I think like Berkeley's system a little better; it is
now being proposed to Old Oakland for us to start with there. At Berkeley,
people are "charged" $3.00 for every meal they sign up for. Once every
quarter, the meals they've eaten are balanced against the money they've
spent when they cooked. If the they've spent less than $25.00 more than
they've eaten, they can choose to leave that difference in the kitty or be
reimbursed for the difference--it's a virtual kitty, not an actual box of
money. If it's more than $25, they will be reimbursed as much as they want
up to the actual overage. I believe it works the other way too for someone
who eats a lot more than he or she spends.  They have found that with this
system keeps the kitty adequately funded, mean that their average meal cost
is, guess what, $3.00.  [If David Dobkin or someone else from Berkely
Cohousing would like to correct my representation or their system, I hope
he or she will do so.]

At Doyle Street, our average common meal cost is $3.75. But with our
system, we "pay" a different amount ( I think usual range $2.50 to $4.25
with a cap $5.50) for every meal. 

Joani Blank
Doyle Street and Old Oakland (SF Bay Area)
One unit left in Old Oakland/Swan's Market CoHousing. Inquiries to
jeblank [at] or 510-655-7399. Call now!
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