Friday, June 21, 2013

Spending Money Wisely Field Trip

January 2013

We held this Field Trip on a Friday, during the day, on a Teacher Work Day. It lasted three hours, but unlike the last event didn’t feel over long. I’m very proud of this event. I think it worked beautifully to teach the girls about money and budget making. They were engaged and excited and it ran pretty smoothly.

Overall, the idea here was the girls were going to budget and plan their own meal in small groups. They took the money out of the bank, shopped for ingredients in the supermarket, then came home and prepared the meal themselves. We did this in small groups. Along the way they had a tour of the bank and learned about saving money on a large and small scale.

Goal and Badges

By the end of this event the girls had earned all four Financial Leaves and had gotten a Bank Tour Fun Patch.

From Troopmoore on Ebay

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Despite the fact that I remember having this field trip planned down to the last detail,
this was the only itinerary I could find:

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Gathering Activities

When the girls first came in we had them do worksheets from the “Money Counts” packet, pages 6 and 7 which talk about things kids can do for free, and the “Making Choices” packet, pages 3, 5 and 7 which talk about needs and wants.

Daisy Circle:

The Promise Leader led the Promise and then we went around the circle saying what we liked about the movie we saw on Movie night. Then we discussed what we were doing for the day.

Piggy Banks

Before planning our meals, we let the girls do a fun creative project and paint ceramic piggy banks to save their own money. My girls were very, very into this. They love craft projects that allow them to be creative.

1. Ceramic Piggy banks. We got them from oriental trading:
2. Various washable paints
3. Brushes
4. Dixie cups for water and paper plates for palates
5. Self adhesive jewels. We also got these from oriental trading :

They got so into painting them that it went over time.  They were so into it that I didn’t want to interrupt them so we started the planning while they were finishing up. We find that sometimes they are more attentive if their hands are occupied.

Various Pigs made by the girls, the one on the right is unpainted

These piggies proved very useful. They were left to dry at my house and we gave them back next time at the “Responsible for What I Say and Do,” meeting with a list of possible chores. Kids were encouraged to do chores around the house and fill the piggy banks. Then we collected the money at the end of the year when we were doing the pink petal “Make the World a Better Place” to give to a Charity of their choice.

Planning Session

While the girls were finishing up their piggies we explained we were going to have three groups with each of the co-leaders in charge of the first two and the chaperone in charge of the last one. Our daughters were automatically with their moms. We decided that was best because even though they may behave better with someone else, if they could see their mom and not be with them it was worse.

The first thing we did was have the three chaperones’ daughters pick out of a hat whether their team would handle snack and drinks, lunch, or desert. Then we had the rest of the girls pick from the hat to see which team they were on.  Every girl got to pick something.

After cleaning up the girls went into a separate area with the team leader. Each team got five dollars in cash (3 singles, 4 quarters, 6 dimes, 6 nickels, and 10 pennies) that they had to count out themselves and a check for five dollars. They also got a folder and pen to brainstorm their meals and a change purse (from the dollar store).

The girls didn't get the "hat" joke, but the adults got a good laugh

The girls had to plan and budget for a meal that fed 11 people, could be made in less then 30 minutes, required at least 20 minutes of prep, and did not cost more then $10 including tax.  Moms were warned that they were not allowed to put in even a penny. If you exceeded $10 something needed to go back. (Try it.  It’s harder than you think).

After a few minutes to brainstorm and make a list, the girls grabbed their team change purse (we had to rotate who carried it) and piled into the car of her team leader to drive to the bank. (FYI the bank is five minutes from my house and across the street from the Grocery Store.)

Bank Tour

The bank that we used is the bank that everyone in the Service Unit uses, so they are well equipped to deal with Girl Scouts. They only did tours on weekdays so the Teacher Workday worked well for us. A manager came out to give us the tour. They even had goody bags for the girls with pens, pencils, coloring pages, cups, and, most importantly, lollypops. The leaders even got free bags. (Awesome huh, free field trip where they give you stuff.)

My free bag.  I keep all my girl scout stuff in it.

The bank manager talked to the girls about the importance of saving money and how putting your money in the bank helped people buy houses. He did use words that were a little too big, so I had to translate into kindergartenese. They showed the girls the safe deposit boxes and he had the girls talk about what kind of important things they would put in one to keep it safe.  Then they got to see the vault (not quite as big as the ones in the movies).

After the tour everyone got on line for the teller and each group went up and cashed their check for $5.

Grocery Store

The girls probably enjoyed the grocery store portion of this Field Trip more then the bank.  For this section we worked in our small groups.

I had a group of three girls and they had drawn desert as their portion of the meal. At home they had decided to do chocolate chip cookie ice cream sundaes. We got refrigerated cookie dough and vanilla ice cream. Of course, they wanted to get the enormous cookie dough tub and their favorite brand of ice cream, but we pulled out the cell phone calculator and showed how they couldn’t afford that.

Once they had picked the store brand ice cream and the small, on sale, tube of cookie dough we were at about $6. The rest of the time was spend with the girls debating (I’m not going to say fighting, it wasn’t that bad) about getting hot fudge or sprinkles, whip cream or caramel sauce, with each of the three having their favorites.

Finally they, amazingly, agreed on a hard-shell ice cream coating and we went off to see if we could find sprinkles for our remaining $1.50. Hint: Sprinkles are ridiculously expensive, though I swear we could have gotten some from the dollar store. I really wanted to say “we have some at home,” but that was against the rules. In the end, I told the girls that if we had left over money we could divide it up and put it in their piggies toward their charity money and they seemed happy with that.

The dinner group finished early and killed time at the lobster tank. They had under a dollar left. The drinks and snacks group struggled with their budget. In the end, they went over by a few cents and the cashier felt bad so gave them a nickel.


Back home, the snack and drink group had gotten a store brand lemonade mix, tortilla chips, salsa and Velveeta cheese. They cut up the cheese and mixed it with the salsa and microwaved it for a yummy dip. The girls also mixed the lemonade. The lunch group had decided on spaghetti. They boiled the noodles and then had spray butter, parmesan cheese and jarred sauce to go with it. My girls scooped and shaped the cookies, helping with the sundaes later.

What I hadn’t anticipated was the amount of downtime that the girls had while their parts were cooking or while other groups were working. At first, we sent them back to decorate their piggies with adhesive jewels. That gave us 5, 10 minutes tops.  Thankfully, I had folders that the girls were going to use in the next session.   I got out markers and stickers and told them to put their name on the folders and decorate them.

When everything was done we sat all the girls down and we served it like a three course meal, first the chips and dip, then the spaghetti, and finally the sundaes. I don’t think a single girl wanted tomato sauce but they all ate a big bowl of pasta with butter and cheese.

The parents started arriving as they were finishing the pasta. I had my girls get the freshly baked cookies in bowls while I scooped ice cream, then we poured on the hard-shell stuff for whoever wanted it. It was the birthday cake flavor and sickeningly sweet. Of course the girls loved it.

Our gourmet meal


In the end, the girls went home with a bag from the bank, full bellies, and all four Financial Leaves.


  1. sounds amazing! i was pleased that we covered the leaves in one meeting, minus the charity aspect. these are first year daisies, so maybe next year we will expand on what we did this year and follow your plan. thanks for sharing!

  2. I'll be a first time leader next year and I love this idea! Thank you for sharing. I hope we can organize something similar.