Few things affect us so much, it is a 5 letter word and people hate to discuss it. The subject is very personal and for some who were never taught about it, quite embarrassing. It is money. Many kids today have no concept of where it comes from, much less how to manage it. This badge can start them on the process of learning so that when they have money of their own, they use it wisely and invest in their own future. You only need to do 5 activities to earn the badge, not every single suggestion.


All girls know what it means to trade. What child has not gone trick-or-treating and said “I’ll trade you my 2 Tootsie Pops for your Butterfinger”?

Hands on activity:

1.Chooses a craft or snack, it really does not matter what as long as it requires a lot of items or skill sets. Explain to the girls what they are going to make and be sure to show all the items or skills they need. Then sit them down in front of “their” supplies. Each girl will have something they need, but missing something else. Tell them they must trade with each other until they have what they each need and everyone is happy. Someone may have all the glue, while another girl may be the only one who knows how to write yet. Once everyone has what they need, they have learned the ancient system of bartering.

2.The story of Jack and the Beanstalk deals with bartering, money, wants versus needs, as well as stealing and might be fun to read with your girls. Older girls could even act out the story for younger ones.

Currency has its roots in Chinese history as far back as 1,000 BC. The first real coin did not come until about 600 BC in modern-day Turkey. Leather money came about 100 BC and it was not until 800 AD that money first appeared.

Hands on activity:

3. The girls might enjoy looking at library books showing ancient coins that have been discovered.

4.The Wampanoag Indian word for beads mad from whelk or clam shells was wampumpeag, from which the word wampum derived from. These rare shells were ground into cylinder shaped beads and then drilled with a hole to allow them to be strung as a necklace or woven into clothing. In 1637 the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared it was legal tender. Purple beads were worth twice as much as the white ones. This is an opportunity to have the girls make their own necklaces. Younger girls might use simple pony beads. Older girls can use thin wire to thread stones or wrap stones or shells and use as a pendant.

Juniors and up might like using magazine paper to create their own beads.


While the colonies were still under English rule, colonists would use English, French and Spanish money. When the American Revolution began the new nation needed to create its own currency and [ass the Coinage Act of 1793 which established the US Mint. About half of those denominations that were first designed are still used today. For many years banks were allowed to print their own currency as well until President Jackson decided we needed a single currency so as to establish a better economy.

Hands on activity:

1.Supplies Needed: Pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, Susan B Anthony, gold dollar, $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, magnifying glass, blindfold.
Spread the money on the table and discuss how they are similar and what makes them each different. For the coins you can show the name of various aspects.

Field – the blank background
Portrait – the face on the coin
Date – when the coin was produced
Mint Mark – under the date, identifies where the coin was produced.
Edge – the flat circumference of the coin. When coins were still made from precious metals, smooth-edged coins were less valuable as they allowed people to shave off metal. The ridges were designed to prevent that as it would become obvious when someone has attempted to do that. Today, different coins have smooth or ridged edges to assist the visually impaired to easily identify one coin from another.
Rim – the place where the field and edge meet.

Use the magnifying glass to closely examine the money. Hold bills up to the light and find which one has a bar in the paper and discuss why it is there. This is important for the girls to learn so that they accept only authentic currency. The blindfold is to see how many girls can recognize one coin or bill from another.

2. If you live in the right area you could get a tour of a mint. The rest of us can view a cartoon that shows the process.


I often hear “I need a coffee this morning” or “I need a new pair of shoes” As Christmas draws near it becomes “I want that!” SO what is the difference between a need and a want? We all NEED clothes, but do we need 3 winter coats? Do we NEED the $80 pair of jeans or would a $40 pair work just as well?

Hands on activity:
1.Have a place on the wall girls can come tape pictures. Give them magazines and newspaper ads to cut out pictures. Let them tape the picture to the side labeled NEED or WANT according to what they think it is. Discuss how they did. Now discuss what does the Troop NEED to do this year, versus what does it WANT to do this year.

2. Now that the girls have their wants listed, start looking at what it costs. For example, a Starbucks coffee will cost at least $3.50. some people have one every day, how much does that add up to in a year? $1,277.50!! What could the girls buy with that money? How could they use it to invest in their future instead?


I had just told my son I did not have the money for something and his first response was “well, write a check!” Now his younger sisters would say “Use your debit card” but the problem is the same. They did not understand that money does not just magically appear to be handed over to the cashier.

Because every Troop is different, this will be a unique discussion for your group. Are you just starting out and have nothing in the bank account, or do you have a lot of money left over from cookie sales last spring. Do you charge dues, or does your Troop have a sponsor? Once the girls earn the money, where does it go?

Hands on activity:
1.Visit a local bank. The girls especially love the vault. You could ask which girls have a savings account and try to go to the bank most use. Another option is to see if parents would all be willing to allow their child to open a savings account on your visit.

2.Older girls can learn how to use a register, and even write a check.

3.Older girls should speak with the loan officer about credit cards, business loans, personal loans and home mortgages. At this age it is hard for them to truly grasp that a frivolous attitude with money can hurt them for years to come and the people who deal with that on a daily basis just seem to make it sink in better. They can also talk about being careful online to protect their money and credit.

4.Have a jar labeled BANK and one labeled WALLET, put skittles in each one. . Have them tell you things they want to buy and figure out how much it will cost. As they “shop” allow them to eat the candy, and they choose which jar to take the money from. For some girls it may help to swipe your debit card on the BANK jar before removing the candy. Eventually the girls will want to buy something and won’t have enough “money” left to do so.

5.Have the girls choose 3 items they can buy locally from a weekly ad. Then ask them to do some research and determine if it is better to buy locally or shop online.

If the girls are considering a fund RAISERS, this can help them decide what they want to do.

Hands on activity:

6.A producer make an a good or service for the consumer. For example, Girl Scouts make cookies for friends and family to buy. Use the attached sheet to see if they can draw a line from the producer, to the good or service they provide and finally, link that to the consumer who needs it.


7. If the girls are the producer, what good or service can they provide that people would be willing to pay for?


Now comes the fun part, spending the money you just learned about. As a Troop the girls need to learn early that everything they do costs money. While they may not grasp the entire concept, they can understand having enough or not.

Hands on activity:

1. Bring in various items the girls can “purchase” Depending on your girls, this can be real or pretend. Tag everything with a price and give each girl the same amount of money. Allow them to peruse the store and decide what they can afford to buy. A real store might have fun pencils purchased at the Dollar Store, or even candy. A fake store could have a can of spinach, stuffed animals or even clothing. Girls can decide to pool their money for a big-ticket item they can share, such as a pizza, or cake. The point is to get them thinking about what they have to spend and the cost of items

2. Older girls can have a budget and be asked to look through a grocery ad and shop for a week’s worth of food. Again, they might decide to pool their money and split a package with someone else, or to be “room mates” and cook all their meals together.

3. A trip to a local thrift store gives practical experience in spending money. Each girl has $5 to spend and must put together an entire outfit for herself.

4. Pull these concepts together, and decide what the Troop can afford to do this year. If you have already done a money earning activity, discuss what you have for funds and what the girls want to do. If you have not yet earned your money for the year, discuss how important it is to set personal goals as well as a Troop goal. You can also decide if you need/want to do another fund-raiser to make up the difference.

5. Take the Troop to the store to shop for their next activity such as a craft or even a weekend camping trip.

6. Senior and Ambassador girls can make up their dream list. Put down the things they want to do or own someday. This could include college, trade school, trip to Paris, owning a fancy car or simply be a home owner. Then have them meet with a financial adviser to discuss what they can do to get there.


7. Make a piggy bank.


Now the girls have the chance to provide service to others. Depending on what they want to do, it may or may not cost money. The important thing is to connect their skill and knowledge to someone who needs help. This can be a simple act of service or a larger Take Action Project. If they have done a Journey this is a good time to connect what funds the girls have to the service project they want to do. Make sure they remember to save money for that project when they plan their fun activities.


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