Girl Scout Cookies Cost How Much?

file0001735194313It’s the end of January. Do you know what that means? No, it isn’t yet time to pay taxes, start Christmas shopping, or begin working on that tan for swimsuit season. It’s Girl Scout Cookie time! Yes, beginning this Sunday, those adorable, smiling Girl Scouts will be out with a vengeance. They will have the color coded order forms with those mouth watering pictures of our favorites, like Samoas, Thin Mints, and Tagalongs. I admit, I have loved Girl Scout Cookies for as long as I can remember. My Mom used to come home with a big bag of them every year around this time. You have to admit, the Girl Scouts know how to market, but of course, as a reformed spending addict, I have to ask, “Girl Scout Cookies cost how much?”

History of the Girl Scout Cookie

Girl Scouts started selling cookies as early as 1917 as a way to raise money. Through the years, the process has evolved. Currently there are two licensed bakers that produce a maximum of eight varieties of cookies each season. It is mandatory that three of the varieties are Trefoils, Do- Si -Do’s and my favorite, Thin Mints. Girl Scout Cookie season usually lasts about six weeks. After which the cookies go back in the vault like a Disney movie, and they are unavailable until the following year.

Flawless Marketing

The Girl Scouts do a wonderful job of marketing. If you think about it, it’s almost perfect.

  • Kids are selling the product-As I’ve said before, it is really hard to say no when a kid asks you to buy something.
  • Limited Availability-Cookies are only available for a limited time. We better stock up!
  • It’s For a Good Cause-We are often more willing to spend money if we feel like it goes to a good cause. Girl Scouts promote positive experiences and self esteem for girls. It’s hard to fault that.
  • Happy Marketing-Like Mrs. Frugal Rules pointed out, advertisers want you to buy an experience. When you see all those pictures of smiling girls having fun, it makes you think you might be happy too if you can have some of those cookies.
  • Perfect Time of Year- Waiting until the end of January is far enough after Christmas but well before the next major holiday. Also people who went on a diet are probably ready to cheat by this time or want a reward for eating twigs and berries for the last month.


How Much Do the Girl Scouts Make?

According to their website, for each box of cookies sold at $3.50/box, 70% goes to the local Girl Scout Council. I’m not an expert on the Girl Scout hierarchy, but from what I can gather, each council oversees several individual troops in their area. Each individual troop gets around $.60 per box sold. The remaining 30% goes to the bakers who produce the cookies. The bakers then pay a licensing fee to the Girl Scouts of America based on annual sales.

The Girl Scouts of America are the ones who control the licensing agreements for other deals. When you see a carton of Girl Scout’s Thin Mint Ice Cream, the national organization is getting the money for those products.

Considering that around 200 million boxes of Girl Scout Cookies are sold each year, that’s a pretty big chunk of change!

Will I be Buying Girl Scout Cookies This Year?

You all know I’m on a grocery budget, and I’m trying to make most sweet treats from scratch. I haven’t bought a box of cookies from the store in many months. If I were to buy a package of cookies, I certainly would not pay $3.50 for them off the store shelves.

For this purchase, like any other, I’ll have to ask if it reflects my values. Will it contribute to my overall health? Absolutely not. My metabolism stopped at age 35, so I’ll have to work extra hard to burn off any extra cookies. Will it contribute to my overall happiness and well being? Holy goodness yes, I love a Thin Mint more than any cookie. Maybe it is the fact that they are only available for a limited time or maybe it reminds me of happy childhood memories, but I’ll have to find something else to cut back on so that I can get my cookies. My daughter has learned to love the Samoas too, and good or bad, she expects me to have those in season.

Anyway you look at it , the Girl Scouts are a force to be reckoned with in fundraising. Maybe they are contributing to obesity in America. Maybe it is not fair to make children sell things to participate in an organization.  Whether you feel their reimbursement for their efforts is worth it or not, I bet lots of us will be buying Girl Scout Cookies this year.

Will you be buying Girl Scout Cookies? What is your favorite kind?

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48 Comments

  1. You can buy thin mint cookies that look and taste EXACTLY like the Girl Scout brand in 10 oz packages at Walgreens and Aldi’s. Walgreens sells them under their store brand name, “Nice” for about $2.50. Aldi’s sells them under the brand-name “Benton” for only $1.25.

  2. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth so I don’t often buy cookies for fundraisers. I find that most of the time I get asked to buy Girl Scout cookies, it’s actually my colleagues who are trying to sell them on behalf of their kids. It’s a lot easier to say now to them!

  3. When the kids sell a the grocery store, I cannot resist them. I will buy thin mints in place of my normal snack purchase. I love them n the freezer! Even better is the group that stands in front of the Starbucks! How smart…snag people that are already paying $4 for a cup of coffee!

    I think it does teach important lessons to the children and since I plan on enrollng my daughters in the Girl Scouts when they are older, I will support them. Girl Scouts are all about community and give the girls a safe place to be. My husband was a Boy Scout and he believes wholeheartedly in the mission of these organizations. (Obviously he was there before all the recent controversies, but still loves them for what they taught him.)

    1. I agree with the mission of the Girl Scouts. It certainly makes it easier to buy cookies than if they were raising that money for pageant dresses or something.

  4. I have a family member who always orders me some through some lady in her office who has a daughter or something…I don’t know. I feel like the quality and quantity you get has been going down for years while the price has been going up. I had no idea about the break down per box. I appreciate that a lot.

    Last year I almost bought extras. I was walking into a store and there was a troop selling them. I told them I’d buy some on the way out. (Didn’t have cash on me yet.) They cried saying they were leaving right now. Oh, well. Didn’t change reality. I wasn’t going to give them my debit card number.

    I came out like and hour and a half later and they were STILL THERE. They were excited to see me coming out, but I told them I didn’t spend my money supporting liars. Overreaction? Probably. But seriously! They were so young and already trying to play me in order to get a sale.

    1. That is a horrible way to sell cookies. I hope their parents weren’t there egging them on. I usually buy from some of the girls who come into the office. I like the ones who show some motivation.

  5. I’ve always been surprised at the cost of these cookies but I’ve always bought them because I think it’s a great thing to support. I was a girl scout when I was a kid, so it’s my way of giving back.

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