Re: Cost of living after move in
From: Saoirse (
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2007 08:48:36 -0800 (PST)
Molly Lazar's post about cutting expenses in cohousing rings true at Harmony Village, too. We are close enough to downtown Golden to walk or bike, and there's quite a bit going on in town (Candlelight Walk, Buffalo Bill Days, Concerts in the Park) that doesn't cost anything. Here in the Village, we have 25 fruit trees that are just starting to bear, and a large community garden with a solar-powered pump system that enables us to eat as locally as it gets. We also have house concerts in the Common House, "Roasts and Toasts" (celebrating neighbors' lives), Spanish and yoga classes, and other ways of getting what we need without jumping in the car. And light rail is coming to Golden!

My next door neighbor, Dave Wann, the coauthor of Affluenza, has written a sequel called Simple Prosperity in which he describes a "joyfully moderate" lifestyle that's rich in social connections, creativity, time, good health, contact with nature, quality products, and other forms of "real wealth." (Molly's lifestyle seems to be a great example.) Dave quit his government job 12 years ago to try free- lance writing, and as he describes in the book (I got an advance copy), he's just as happy as he was before, with half the income. He tells about how his lowest utility bill was something like $28, which he achieved with solar hot water heating, window covers, compact fluorescent bulbs, efficient appliances and one of our townhouses that insulate each other and also benefit from thick roof insulation. With a bit of humor, he describes the air conditioner he homemade with a metal bowlful of ice, a humidifier from Target, and a small fan. I recommend Simple Prosperity because it offers a path away from the over-consumption that doesn't really make us happy. And "neighborhoods on purpose," in Dave's words, can be an important piece.

Saoirse Charis-Graves
Harmony Village
Golden, CO

On Nov 27, 2007, at 9:50 AM, Molly Lazar wrote:

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 money.

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

Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.