I hear all the time from leaders that the new badges are boring — especially for the older girls. Cadettes have limited time and plenty of other activities to choose from besides Girl Scouts. How can we get them to stay with the program if they don’t like the activities?
Well, the Budgeting badge is one they will love! And they will also learn to think about money and choices in a new way. That’s right, the Cadette Budgeting badge may just be one of the most memorable badges your girls will earn this year.
The fun starts with a mock auction. All the supplies are in the Budgeting Badge in a Bag from MakingFriends.com. Each girl with have her own auction paddle and $1,500 in faux money to spend. Each kit will also include 8 printed auction sheets that will be used by the group. Unless you have a large troop, each girls’ kit will have different auction sheets.
The auction sheets come in pairs. Cut them apart and set them side-by-side for comparison by the girls. Lay out all the sheets and number them. Give the girls time to decide which items they want to bid on and how much they want to spend. Our Budgeting Badge in a Bag includes a worksheet. Many of the girls will have calculators on their phones but bring at least one to the meeting. Will they choose to bid on the new iphone 6 or the used iphone 5 with the data plan? The girls cannot expect to win all their chosen item so it is OK to budget for more than the $1500 they are given. (Step 1 of the Cadette Budget Badge.)
You will be the auctioneer so warm up vocal chords and get ready to start the bidding…
“Item number 1 up for bid is two Front Row Tickets to a Taylor Swift concert. Retail price for this this item is $700. Bidding starts at $200. Who will bid $200 for these once-in-a-lifetime tickets? I have a $200 bid. Do I hear 250? How about 300? 350? 400? 400 anyone? Do I hear 400? 400 is a steal for $700 tickets. Anyone? $400 going once, $400 going twice, $400 going 3 times… sold to to number 734!”
The faster and livelier you can make the auction, the more fun it will be. Get ready to have a blast with your girls! You will probably want your co-leader to collect the money, write the winning bid amount on the auction sheet and give it to the winner so you can get ready to for the next item. Make sure the girls know that no one can bid more than they have left in cash. If someone accidentally bids too much, re-auction that item and do not allow the overbidder to participate so there is a penalty for overbidding.
The auction ends when everyone is out of money or there are no more items to auction. Ask the girls to record on their worksheets sheets which ones they won and how much they spent.
You might consider holding your auction without any previous discussion to see how much the girls understand about their financial values or you could choose to have a discussion first. Here are some ideas whether you choose to discuss before or after your auction:
- If a girl earns $8 an hour (or any amount you decide) how many hours does it take to earn the $1500 they are given to spend? (187.5 hours)
- If you work for 8 hours a week at $8/hour, and saved everything you made, how long would it take to save the $1500? (almost 6 months)
- If bidding starts at $200, how many hours did you have to work to earn that $200? (25 hours)
- If the bidding goes to $350, how many additional hours did you have to work? (18.75)
- Ask the girls to look at the auction sheets and decide how many hours she is willing to work for each item she will bid on.
Many of the auction sheets are fun items or even luxury items. Some are necessities and some are charity based. How did the girls spend their money? Ask them to select one or more columns that best describes why they chose each purchase: Party Time, Smart Purchase, Luxury, Great for Family, Always Wanted This, Practical, Charitable. How many items are in each column? Ask the girls what they think it means about their spending values. Healthy spending values would have a variety of items in multiple columns. (Step 2 of the Cadette Budget Badge.)
Ask the girls to think about charitable spending opportunities. Explain that when we give freely to others, we feel good about it. In their “mock-auction” life, maybe they could sell one of the items to give the money to charity or donate the item to someone less fortunate. In their real lives, how can they give? One idea might be to have a garage sale and donate the proceeds to family in need. What ideas can the girls come up with? (Step 4 of the Cadette Budget Badge.)
Did any of the girls have money left over? What would they do with it? Maybe save for a larger item? It’s never too early to think about a car or college expenses. What about a savings account? Find out what your local banks require to open a savings account. If possible take a trip to the bank (a Bank Tour patch is also a fun option!) or talk to the girls about opening their own savings account. The Budgeting Badge in a Bag includes a wooden bank for the girls to decorate. Make sure to have craft supplies available including acrylic paint and paint brushes. Instruct the girls to save their money in the bank until they have enough to open (or add to) a savings account. (Step 3 of the Cadette Budget Badge.)
The Budgeting Badge in a Bag also includes a canvas pouch. Use your troop craft supplies to decorate the pouches. Instruct the girls to track their spending until your next meeting. They should use the pouch to save their receipts. It would also be a good idea to make a list of all expenses and keep that and a pencil inside the pouch. At your next meeting, talk to the girls about their spending habits and possibly making positive changes. (Step 2 of the Cadette Budget Badge.)
Now that your girls have learned about budgeting, it is time to make a real-life budget. Give each of the girls $1,500 in faux money and the large worksheet included with the Budgeting Badge in a Bag. Ask the girls to select one item from each section and place their faux money in the spot provided. Each section must have a selection. The girls will find that they will have very few spending options working with only $1,500 per month. Explain that people who do not learn a trade or get a college education would be lucky to earn $1,500 a month. (Step 5 of the Cadette Budget Badge.)
We know your girls will love our Budgeting Badge in a Bag kit as much as ours did. So give it a try and make sure to let us know how it went.