Re: Cost of living after move in
From: Molly Lazar (
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 08:50:50 -0800 (PST)
I think that living expenses can go down significantly living in cohousing, 
depending on what kind of life you've been living beforehand.  I think one is 
able to live more cheaply *if one chooses to make that the priority* without as 
much loss in quality of life as if one were not living in cohousing.  One may 
not choose to make living cheaper the priority, and one may not have the time 
to do all of the things required to live cheaper.  But I do think it's possible.

Since we moved in we have saved on:
-eating out: we hardly ever eat out anymore.  Beyond the common meals, we have 
a meals swap with two other families (we cook one night a week for all three 
families and bring them dinner on a tray; they bring us meals two other nights 
of the week).  Between our meal swap and our common meals, almost every night 
is taken care of.  I know it is directly related to our meals swap in 
particular because when it's canceled because someone is out of town, I start 
dreaming of restaurants.
-utilities: mostly from moving from a larger/less energy efficient home
-clothing: not only are there hand-me-downs for my children, but several times 
a year the women in our coho neighborhood have a wonderful "Women's Clothing 
Exchange" party where we bring all the clothes we're tired of, and have a blast 
drinking wine and trying on outfits to bring home.
-entertainment: the happy hours, house concerts, and occasional dance parties 
keep our family pretty well entertained on a low budget.  
-carpooling: We have 6 kids in our carpool this year.  The smallest carpool 
we've had has been 4.
-sharing: it's not just the obvious things like a lawnmower.  It's also the 
fact that my kids don't need /want as many toys because they can play them at a 
friend's house (and also need fewer toys because they have friends nearby to 
play with, period).  
-food: We've been growing a lot of our own food and canning/dehydrating a 
year's supply of tomatoes.  This has NOT saved us on time but has saved us on 

I've also been inspired by many of my neighbors who are living on more limited 
means or simply morally believe in buying everything secondhand/ buying less.  
Living with these neighbors has taught me a lot about living more simply, and 
has also made doing so easier.  In this way, I guess I would say that living in 
cohousing has been transforming, for me.

Molly Lazar
member, Blue Ridge Cohousing, Crozet, VA
resident, Shadowlake Village Cohousing, Blacksburg, VA

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