Cost of Living

The Cost of Living at Dancing Rabbit:
How to Make Ends Meet

Many folks ask us what it costs to live at Dancing Rabbit and how much work is expected of them as members. It’s not a simple question to answer since everyone’s needs are different and people’s situations vary so much. People can work in various ways, both within the community and outside it. We have a minimum standard wage that our village council reviews each year and updates to keep pace with inflation and other factors. Not all work is paid, as some is still done as volunteer labor.

It’s important to realize that you cannot necessarily count on there being 40 hours of work per week available for you to do; in fact, you can’t count on there even being 20 hours of work per week available. If you’re considering moving to Dancing Rabbit, it would be much to your advantage to give serious thought as to what skills you have that would allow you to find work online. Since Dancing Rabbit is not an income-sharing community and we have no community business, there is not income generating work that you can just plug into. Besides the costs of living at Dancing Rabbit, there are also time commitments to consider. When budgeting your time, count on the following:

• Meetings—Group meetings range from 1 hour each week, where only basic recurring tasks are handled, to 3 hours in length, when community related agenda topics are discussed. Participation is not required but is strongly encouraged.

• Committees—Members are expected to serve on at least two committees. How much time you spend in committee meetings really depends on how many and what kind of committees your choose to serve on. One hour a month is probably the very minimum you could expect, many spend much more time.

• Clean shift—All members are part of a ‘clean team’ and once every four weeks you’re expected to spend 1.5 hours cleaning the community building or other community property.

• Cook shift—If you’re a member of a food co-op, you’ll likely take on responsibility for cooking for your co-op about once per week. A cook shift can take an average of four to five hours. Likely you’ll have to clean the kitchen occasionally, too, to the tune of about two hours per month.

• Chores—Some chores that serve the whole community are done on a rotational basis. When your turn comes up you are expected to keep an eye out for when the chore needs to be done, then do the chore and inform the next person on the rotation that it is their turn. Additionally, twice a year we have a land clean day during which everyone is expected to spend half the day cleaning public outdoor spaces. Non-members of the Humanure Co-op are expected to perform one humey bucket clean shift per year to support visitors to the community.

• Retreat—Once a year the full group gets together to spend anywhere from three days to a week in a number of closely spaced meetings to help us reach consensus on items too big to be handled at Sunday meetings. We also set our priorities for the year and assign year-long responsibilities to members. Participation at the retreat is expected. People’s participation in this varies a fair amount­ some folks only show up for topics that most concern them, while other folks come to every topic and go even further by helping to plan, run, and record the meetings. Members also frequently spend time before the retreat ‘pre-processing’ ­discussing in small informal groups the upcoming topic to uncover the underlying issues and find solutions that would meet everyone’s needs.

Cost of Living

The following table gives the various costs required of folks living here and also lists a number of optional costs. To get a realistic idea of what your costs might be will require your making choices from the tables according to the lifestyle you choose to live. Lifestyles vary too much for us to be able to estimate what your costs will be. Many of these expenses are co-op fees. Scroll below the table to read about the Co-ops at Dancing Rabbit.

Expense (* = required fees) Dollars per month
*VCC Village Commons Co-op $71.50
*DR Dues (only for DR members) 2% of income or $5.00 minimum
DRLT Lease Fees (For people renting tent platforms or for DR members who are leasing land. Cost given is based on 2,500 sq.ft leasehold; your lease size may vary) $25.00
The above three costs are kind of like neighborhood association fees. For this you get the benefits of living in community as well as use of roads, paths, a common house, and access to DRLT land for nature walks.
Rent and Utilities Dollars per month
Rent (estimated; varies based on building and amenities) $150–$450
Electricity (for a single person’s small home) $9 access fee, plus $0.67/kwh $20-80
Full Shower (indoor + outdoor) $11.50
Humanure Co-op $18.50
CASA Co-op $5.00
There is a lot variation in how folks choose to meet the above kinds of needs. You can belong to co-ops for phone, internet, showers and toilet services, or you can provide your own or go without. Electricity, if desired, can be provided via an off-grid system.
Other Expenses Dollars per month
DRVC Vehicle Co-op mileage (Vehicles costs are based on mileage driven. Most vehicle rates are $.69 per mile; $.83 per mile for the truck). Cost given is based on 25 miles a week; your mileage may vary) $50 average
Kitchen Co-ops (includes food, kitchen rent & utilities)  $8 – $11/day
Common House Kitchen (if you choose to eat on your own instead of joining a food coop – does not include food) $65.00
Travel Varies

Co-ops at Dancing Rabbit