Get 5 or 6 more friends interesting in Co-housing.
Couples+Singles would be the excellent.
Couples and Singles that also include children would be awesome.
Create a community contract stipulating plans and ALL that follows.
It should be clear about obligations
including obligations for departing members such as paying off bills, etc.
Everyone signs it.
Get it notarized.
Bring this with you when you do anything as a group: apartments, banking, joining Sam’s Club etc.
Set up a joint bank account.
You’ll need, probably, a credit union to do this.
Cuz they will be easier on your group
Their fees won’t kill you
Even though everyone is still living on their own, begin collecting money monthly from all parties: this is to set up a fund for first month’s rent, security deposit etc. Ideally this fund will also have the second month’s rent in it (or more) before you find a place to live – each month that you have saved up is one less month of stress when you actually move in.
Yes, this may take a year or more.
During this time, hang out a LOT: picnics, bar nights, movie nights.
Do you all go to the same school?
Take classes together.
Do you all go to the same worshipping tradition?
Can you transfer memberships, whatever, to end up together?
Find a large apartment or townhouse, house or other structure to rent.
Tents are probably a bad idea
Now for the hard part
PAY ALL BILLS ON TIME NO MATTER WHAT THEY ARE – EVEN IF YOU’RE HAVING A FIGHT WITH THE SERVICE PROVIDER
Track everything – any spending on food, utilities, rent, fixing things, renting movies for the house, phone bills (individual cellphone bills, yes) and anything else associated with the house. Document it all on a spreadsheet. Have weekly meetings to submit receipts. DO NOT FIGHT OVER THESE, YOU’RE STILL IN THE FIRST PHASE.
After six months evaluate:
Add cost rent (6 months) Cost of Utilities (6 months worth) Cost of food bought for the house (6 months worth) Cost of any individual purchase – phone bills, light bulbs, etc.
Take total cost and divide by 6 Take that 1/6 cost and divide by number of folks in the house.
This is the cost of living in your house monthly per person.
NB It is ok to make adjustments: the room under the stairs doesn’t need to cost as much as the penthouse, but everything else should be divided evenly.
To the monthly cost per person, add $100 – this is for savings.
Figure out what a basic health care plan would cost for an individual in your area, be that through Blue Cross, Healthy SF, Covered CA, etc.
Allow for folks to include this estimated cost in the monthly contribution to the community.
Begin collecting the new rent+costs+$100 from each person each month
PAY ALL BILLS ON TIME out of the new fund.
Including individual cellphone plans.
Shop for the house from the new fund.
Get a CSA and or join a food club.
Its OK to fight over these now.
The goal is “From each according to their ability to each according to their need.” The month my cellphone bill taps my savings account is the month I need to eat on the house, so it’s ok.
You should, ideally, have $500-600 a month left over.
Put this in the bank account until you have two months’ rent surplus.
Then begin putting monthly surplus in a savings account.
Set aside the estimated health costs into a second savings account.
This is only a just-in-case fund: just in case someone is unemployed and needs to be covered.
Live well and shop good.
Host public events – a weekly potluck is awesome
Use these events to get the community’s name out there, to let people know that a common life of prayer is neither scary nor impossible to construct.
Give one weekend a month to the community’s needs.
The Garden, the doors that need painting, etc.
Give 5% of time a month to an outside org and volunteer together at