In addition to rent, each month we pay an amount into a house fund. This fund is managed by a trusted housemate who acts as the house fund treasurer.
Uses for the house fund:
- buying kitchen equipment
- garden plants
- furniture (usually second hand)
- cleaning supplies, light bulbs and toilet paper
- incentives (honorariums) – for cleaning jobs, cooking meals, organizing house events, etc
- food – can be just bulk grains to all shared food items.
- a buffer fund to cover anyone who falls temporarily behind on rent.
Up until May 2012, we each paid $35 a month, and this amount was enough to cover some basic bulk ingredients (grains and legumes), cooking oils, cleaning supplies, kitchen stuff (including a Vitamix blender), as well as $30 per month to clean all the floors.
The house fund treasurer keeps track of inputs and payments. All residents decide together how to spend the money, but we have been OK with purchases of up to $20 without prior approval as long as the items are reasonable.
In May 2012 we started a new vision and the amount increased to $230 in order to cover most food ingredients and provide honorariums for cooking and cleaning.
For house fund income we take in $230 x 8 people = $1840. Here is a break down of how we spend the money (house fund budget):
If we are short, then we adjust things to reduce the honorariums enough to make it balance out. If we were to always be short then the amounts could be adjusted permanently or the housefund amount raised.
If we have a surplus, then we can opt to save it for future deficits or to save up for a special purchase or event.