Hey, Tooth Fairy: What Do You Pay These Days?

We want the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth — so help your dentist.

How much should the tooth fairy pay?

A Visa survey of 3,000 households says children across the country now find an average of $3.70 under their pillows. Last year it was $3 per tooth, and $2.60 the year before that.

As it turns out, the tooth fairy sometimes pays wildly different amounts to children. Some children find $1, others $20. Here’s how often kids get the big bucks, according to the survey:

  • $5 or more — 10 percent.
  • $20 or more — 6 percent.
  • $50 — 2 percent.

What if your kid gets a much smaller sum than her friends did? “I told [my daughter] that the tooth fairy has only so much money for every night, and that’s how she decides to split up the money,” parenting blogger Brian Klems told The Associated Press. The tooth fairy must start in the Northeast and go clockwise, because kids there find an average of $4.10, while those in the Midwest wake up to $3.30.

Visa also has a tooth fairy calculator, which sheds some light on what kids can expect based on their household’s state, education, marital status, family size and annual income. Those seem like odd things for a tooth fairy to care about, but perhaps no odder than Visa doing a survey about children’s teeth. (Is the fairy paying with plastic these days? Are there per-tooth processing fees?)

What has the tooth fairy left in your home? What about when you were a kid? Let us know on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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  • Don1357

    When we were younger, we had lots of kids–five of our own and 14 foster (over a 10-year time spread) We didn’t have much money then, however costs are relative to the times and the basic principle of kids and finances should remain constant. The more you give anyone without any obligation (regardless of the ruse; tooth fairy, birthday; Easter bunny or even Santa Claus) the less satisfactory will be that experience, and the less satisfactory will be the future collective experience of having grown up in the ultra-permissive and “hyper-giving” environment–the giving of things, though and not the giving of true affection. It can have some really bad effects–even worse than other forms of abuse and neglect in many cases. (Yes, over-giving “stuff” is a form of abuse.) Just think about the poor partner who, in the future, will have to live with the totally spoiled spouse that you might be raising right now. Anyway, with a house full of children and teeth falling out (or being pulled by the greedy), we and the tooth fairy would have been broke in less than a year with no good results to show for it if we had done much more than put a few cents under each pillow on behalf of every tooth fairy who came to visit our kids. You know, we have all sorts of programs in schools, at community centers and even in some businesses that work at getting kids to realistically understand and use money practically and in preparation for being a responsible grownup. I would venture to say that the problematic factor of “fairies” in the mix at least complicates the process. My philosophy has always been, let your kids earn and spend and save (with supervision, of course), what they earn, but the key word here is “earn.” I think tooth fairies as toll distributors in the transportation system of life may be better left out of the equation of child-rearing. So, here is my advice, “Don’t give your kids handouts–not even an allowance–, instead, charge them rent!” Will it work? It did for us. Our kids have grown up appreciative, productive and independent, and not a one ever came home (several of them are grandmas, now) from a tooth fairy divorce with a baby hanging on her hip! :0)

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