Time needed: 60 minutes
Setup: Knowing how to create and stick to a budget is a skill that will help you throughout every stage of your life. Before you can begin to create a budget for your future, you’ll need to imagine where you will live. When you live on your own, your biggest expense will likely be your housing. Living in a dorm, renting an apartment, and buying a house all have their own financial rules and regulations.
Activity: Look at a map of the area you’d like to live in, whether it’s the freshman dorms at your college of choice or renting in a neighborhood you’d like to live in one day. Then, do research on at least six available rooms or homes to find out how living expenses differ and what kinds of compromises you might have to make. For example, when renting in a college town or a big city, you’ll likely have to pay more, but living right outside of a city could mean a bigger place with more room. Think about how much money you might need to set aside for renting or buying a home. Make a chart comparing the various costs and trade-offs you’ve discovered. Create columns for location, type of housing, size of housing, amenities (parking, pool, close to public transportation), cost to rent per month, or cost to own with monthly mortgage payments. Then, make sure you have enough rows for at least six listings. If you have time, consider making multiple charts for different budget levels and different locations so you can compare these costs and trade-offs from multiple perspectives.
Take this activity a step further by doing this research with a group of friends. Have each friend pick a different city or neighborhood and then share what you find and compare costs.
Here are some terms that will help you along the way:
Share your research with your family and friends and get their thoughts!
Troop Leaders: The instructions for all badge steps are available free of charge in the Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit.
Girl Scout Activity Zone activities have been adapted from existing Girl Scout programming.