Just a few years after the Girl Scouts were founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912, the tradition of troops selling cookies began. The first Girl Scout cookies were sold by the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1917 — the scouts baked cookies and sold them in a high school cafeteria as a service project, according to the Girl Scouts official website. Several other troops began baking and selling cookies throughout the ’20s and ’30s, and in 1935, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York raised money through the sale of commercially baked cookies for the first time. The following year, the national Girl Scout organization began the process of licensing the first commercial bakers to produce cookies that would be sold nationwide by troops.
Now, selling cookies has become a Girl Scout tradition, with people all over the country clamoring to get their hands on a box of Thin Mints or Samoas. This year’s prices range from $5 to $6 a box — each local Girl Scout council sets their own pricing based on factors that include ingredients, market size and shipping costs, so prices may vary by region, CNBC reported — but those first Girl Scout cookies were sold for just a quarter. Take a look at Girl Scout cookie prices throughout the years.
1920s: 25 to 35 Cents per Dozen
In July 1922, The American Girl magazine, published by Girl Scouts of the USA, featured the first official Girl Scout cookie recipe. The recipe was created by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, who approximated the cost of the simple sugar cookies to be 26 to 36 cents for six to seven dozen cookies.
Throughout the 1920s, Girl Scouts around the U.S. baked their own versions of the sugar cookie and sold them door-to-door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen, according to the official Girl Scouts website.
1933: 23 Cents per 44 Cookies
The next reported cookie price was actually a decrease from the previous decade. According to the official Girl Scouts website, in 1933, the Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in the city’s gas and electric company windows for 23 cents per box of 44 cookies. They also sold six boxes for $1.24.
1974: $1 to $1.25 per Box
By 1974, Girl Scout cookies had expanded beyond sugar cookies and were now available in a number of flavors, including Chocolate Mint (now known as Thin Mints), Shortbread and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies. Historical newspaper data collected by the On The Feed blog found that during this year, cookies were sold for $1 or $1.25 per box, depending on the location.
1981: $1.50 per Box
According to a New York Times article about Girl Scout cookie sales in 1981, boxes were sold for around $1.50.
“Each of the […] independent Girl Scout Councils throughout the country, through which the cookies are ordered and distributed, collects 65 cents for every box it sells,” the Times reported.
Did You Know: 100 Ways To Make Money Without a 9-to-5
1999: $3 per Box
In 1999, local scouts in Marshall, Missouri began selling cookies for $3 per box, The Marshall Democrat-News reported. By this year, eight cookie varieties were available, including low-fat and sugar-free options.
2004: $3.50 per Box
In 2004, troops in some areas raised the price 50 cents to $3.50 per box. The increase was made as a result of higher expenses for cookie bakers and an increase in the amount given to each troop per box of cookies sold, The Marshall-Democrat News reported.
Find Out: 50 Ways You’re Throwing Money Away
2012: $4 per Box
The Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys announced in July 2012 that they would be selling Girl Scout cookies for $4 per box, the Star Tribune reported. Linda B. Keene, CEO of the local council, cited increased baking costs and other inflationary factors as the reasons for the price increase.
Did You Know: Here’s How Much Restaurants Mark Up Your Food
2015: $5 per Box
In November 2015, the Girls Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts announced that cookie prices would be increasing 25% to $5 per box, CNBC reported. The Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast also raised their prices from $4 to $5 that year. Some local councils in other parts of California and Hawaii had already raised their prices to $5.
“The council sees the increase as an opportunity to offset natural price increases for running the cookie program — from the cost of raw materials and bakery production to transportation,” Tammy Gentry, vice president of marketing for the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast, told CNBC.
2021: $5 to $6 per Box
In July 2020, the Girls Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois announced that prices for Girl Scout cookies would increase for the 2021 season. Traditional cookie flavors — Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Lemon-Ups and S’mores — would be sold for $5 per package, and the Toffee-tastic specialty flavor would be sold for $6 per package.
More from GOBankingRates