Re: Common house meal prices
From: Muriel Kranowski (murielkvt.edu)
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2018 11:36:03 -0700 (PDT)
At Shadowlake Village, we're now charging $5/adult and $2.50/child for a
cooked meal. (We have 3 cooked Sunday dinners per month plus one Sunday
potluck, and also a midweek potluck dinner.)

We started out at $4.50/adult and that was not enough for cooks to stay
within budget using quality ingredients. We then agreed to $5.50, which
turned out to be too much - our Meals Account generated a large surplus.
So, we're hoping $5 is the Goldilocks right amount. We want cooks to use
high-quality ingredients, where local-and-organic is the gold standard and
also the most expensive.

In computing their available budget, the head cooks multiply the signed-up
adults by $4.50 and children by $2.25 (leaving the remaining amount for
kitchen staples), then subtract $15 because we let the head cook and the
two co-cooks eat for free as a thank-you and hopefully a minor inducement
to cook. We have no requirements around participating in meals; people sign
up to cook and/or clean in each 3-month rotation as they see fit, and we
want to encourage cook signups however we can. We recognize that $5 doesn't
really compensate for the hours of work, but it's an acknowledgement of our
appreciation.

Our Meals Accountant sends out a monthly statement showing who owes how
much to the Meals Account or how much your account has in it if you're
running a surplus. Some households pay in a lump sum from time to time and
draw it down; others have funds in the account because a head cook in the
household asked to have the amount owed to them for their meal expense put
into the Meals Account rather than being reimbursed immediately.

This system is kind of paperwork-heavy - to be reimbursed, cooks must
submit their receipts and sign-up sheets to the Meals Accountant, who
enters the information into a spreadsheet that generates the monthly
statement and then enters the payments made by people who didn't have a
surplus, and takes the payment checks to the bank. If no-one were willing
to take on that task, we'd have to regroup in a hurry! But meantime it
works for us.

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