How many Girl Scouts Cookies do you think were bought in Colorado last year?

Better question, how much do you think the Girl Scouts who sold you those cookies get to keep?

Grab your Thin Mints as we tell you the answer to the first question: 4.5 million!

The answer to the second question depends on which box of cookies you buy.

A Next viewer provided us a screen shot of their daughter's digital cookie page setup, where Girl Scouts can follow their progress online.

The screenshot shows a sales target and a goal calculator. They input "300" for the number of boxes they want to sell which, according to the website, will result in $195 in help for her Troop and others.

The viewer wanted to know why only $195, when cookies cost $4 or $5 per box.

We wanted to know too.

If a Girl Scout sold 300 boxes at $4 per box, that's $1,200. The Troop receiving $195 of that would be only 16 percent.

So, where does the cookie money go?

First, we need to separate the $4 boxes versus the $5 boxes because the math is different.

Four Dollar Boxes:

  • Thin Mints
  • Samoas (also known as Caramel deLites)
  • Tagalongs (aka Peanut Butter Patties)
  • Trefoils (aka Shortbread)
  • Do-si-dos (aka Peanut Butter Sandwich)
  • Savannah Smiles

According to the Girl Scouts of Colorado, for every $4 box of cookies:

  • 53% ($2.11) - Girl Scouts of Colorado
  • 25% ($0.99) - Pays the bakery for the cookies
  • 22% ($0.89) - Troops that sell the cookies

In 2017, the Girl Scouts of Colorado brought in more than $17.8 million, thanks to cookies; the 75 percent that stayed in Colorado (Girl Scouts of Colorado plus Troops) equaled $13,360,525.70.

The Girl Scouts of Colorado kept $9.3 million, while Troops kept $3.98 million.

"What a girl pays to go to camp is not nearly what it costs to send a girl to camp. The price of a cookie subsidizes that cost," said AnneMarie Harper, Public Relations Director for Girl Scouts of Colorado. "We own nine properties statewide, four of which are major camp properties."

The money that the Girl Scouts of Colorado keeps helps pay for the upkeep at those properties.

"Girls ride the zipline for a first time, ride a horse for a first time, learn how to shoot a bow and arrow, learn how to canoe," said Harper. "Last year we had a Troop go to camp for the first time. Those girls may not have ever been able to go to camp without that experience."

She said the money also pays for grants for Girl Scouts and volunteers, to help pay for camp, uniforms and training.

"Also, cookie money pays for -- we expanded our background check for volunteers -- so it pays to keep girls safe," said Harper.

The 22 percent kept by the Troops can be spent however the troops chooses.

"With their cookie money, girls are typically asked to do two things: Do something fun with your troop (and) do something fun to celebrate, but do something and give back to your community," said Harper.

She said some Troops may spend the money on a community service project or a celebration like a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs, which one Troop did last year.

OK, but 22 percent? Isn't that low?

"They learn goal setting, money management, business ethics, they learn how to talk to adults, they learn how to manage their money," said Harper.

Five Dollar Boxes:

  • Girl Scout S'mores
  • Toffee-tastic

The special five-dollar cookies cost more to make, so the breakdown is as follows:

  • 45% ($2.25) - Pays the bakery for the cookies
  • 38% ($1.90) - Girl Scouts of Colorado
  • 17% ($0.85) - Troops that sell the cookies

Of the 4.5 million boxes sold in Colorado in 2017, Thin Mints are by far the favorite:

  • 36% - Thin Mints (approximately 1,620,000)
  • 24% - Samoas (approximately 1,080,000)
  • 15% - Tagalongs (approximately 675,000)
  • 6% - Trefoils (approximately 270,000)
  • 6% - Do-si-dos (approximately 270,000)
  • 6% - S'mores (approximately 270,000)
  • 4% - Savannah Smiles (approximately 180,000)
  • 3% - Toffee-tastic (approximately 135,000)