Do you need to match other tooth fairies?
How Much Does the Tooth Fairy Leave at Your House?
by Dollar Stretcher Contributors
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8 Things Your Kids Need to Know About Money
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How Much Does the Tooth Fairy Leave at Your House?
My daughter has her first loose tooth and is very excited about a visit from the Tooth Fairy. But she has informed us that she thinks she will get $5 because another child in her class at school just got $5. We feel this is excessive. I'd like to hear from some frugal families to find out what the Tooth Fairy is leaving at their houses these days and how do they explain to their children how the Tooth Fairy prices teeth differently for different kids? Thanks so much.
Find the Teaching Opportunity
I'm a parent, grandparent, and teacher. I see how excited the little people get when they wiggle out a tooth, and then when they find what the tooth fairy left them under the pillow. Perhaps instead of being too concerned about the amount of money your little daughter is expecting, go ahead and spring for what you can afford and what you think is reasonable in your family (knowing, of course, that you are setting a precedent, as there are more loose teeth coming), and use this opportunity to teach her at this young age how to handle her windfall. If you begin talking about saving some, spending some, and giving some to church (or charity), you can use this to show your family values and help establish some good habits in her young life. We have teaching opportunities all around us, and this could be a great one.
There Was a Meeting...
We give $1 per tooth. I told my children that after each of them were born, their daddy and I had a meeting with the tooth fairy and decided on $1 per tooth. Also, instead of just leaving the money under the pillow, I try to make it extra special by writing a note from the Tooth Fairy and decorating the envelope with glitter, stickers, etc.
Sometimes an Explanation Isn't Necessary
At our house, the Tooth Fairy was always very generous. After all, you only lose those teeth once and the tooth fairy is magical and we all need some magic in our lives. For us, it was an area of no compromise that we budgeted for and our tooth fairy did give $5. It was double if it was traumatic (which only happened once!).
Our nephew had a more frugal tooth fairy. He got $2 and a conversation between the two cousins was overheard. They decided that the tooth fairy pays for quality! Our daughter was a good, diligent "tooth-brusher" that visited the dentist regularly. My nephew was not so diligent. I loved how they came up with that all on their own! Sometimes adults don't need to offer explanations.
Our neighbor's sneaky tooth fairy gives a small amount of money to the child who lost the tooth and a piece of candy (usually a lollipop) to both kids. To help the rest of the teeth fall out faster! I think that is a great, fun idea!
Cover in Tooth Fairy Dust
Our grandson gets as many quarters as his age. However, my clever daughter-in-law paints them with clear nail polish with iridescent sparkles in it. They are glittery, beautiful, and covered in "tooth fairy dust." He is thrilled!
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Tooth Fairy Supply and Demand
We told our daughter that what the tooth fairy leaves under a pillow depends on how many children she has to give to that night. Our amount was always $2.
More Imagination than Money
As a single (cash strapped) mom, I had more imagination than money. When my children were small, they looked forward to receiving "Magic Tooth Fairy Money" when they lost a baby tooth or molar. I would get an unusual coin at the bank such as a silver dollar, Susan B. Anthony dollar, half dollar coin, or one of those gold dollar coins that were used for a while as replacements for single dollar bills. I would spray the coin liberally with pump hair spray and sprinkle it with glitter that I called "Magic Tooth Fairy Dust." The tooth fairy would slip one of these gems under the sleeping child's pillow in exchange for the teeth that were later sold by the Tooth Fairy to Santa's elves for use in smiling dolls. My children were told that there were no payments made by the Tooth Fairy for teeth that had cavities, so they brushed extra well! My two kids still smile as they fondly remember me calling the Tooth Fairy Hotline to report that we had a lost tooth that needed to be retrieved that evening.
First Tooth Bonus
My daughter got $5 for her first tooth. It was $1 with a $4 "first tooth bonus." The tooth fairy left a note explaining that a first tooth is pretty special, hence the bonus. After that she would get the standard rate of $1 per tooth. It worked for my first child and my second child as well.
When the Tooth Fairy Gets Creative
When my daughter was losing her teeth, the tooth fairy would bring her small gifts instead of cash. I would routinely check the dollar bins at various stores for cute items like pens, note pads, stickers, etc. and I would wrap two or three with frilly ribbon and she always loved them. When asked about why she didn't leave cash, I told her that her Tooth Fairy was far too creative to just leave cash. She felt very special at that point!
Make It Memorable
A tooth fairy visit should be memorable. A silver dollar left under the pillow will be more memorable than basic cash. You can get silver dollars at the bank, and since they're not seen every day, the child will be prone to collect the dollars instead of spending them. It's more like a little prize than a cash reward for losing a tooth.
Keep a Supply of Small Gifts on Hand
When my kids were small enough to be losing teeth, the amount was a quarter. I was a single parent and didn't always have the money, so we had a different system. I would save the treats from cereal boxes, and when I could have a hamburger from McDonald's for lunch at work, I always bought the kid's meal and saved the toy. My kids were happy with these. Is there something from a dollar store your child would like? Keep a supply of small gifts on hand. I think $5 is excessive. Talk to your child and discuss the fact that each tooth fairy gives different amounts to different children.
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Make Her Grin and Brush
I agree that $5 for one Tooth Fairy visit is excessive! My children, now teens, didn't receive cash from the Tooth Fairy. They got a Matchbox car or colorful pencils, stickers, etc. One time my daughter received rainbow shoelaces. She was thrilled! They were less than $1 at the store. Most of the things the Tooth Fairy brought were little extras that the kids wanted, but frugal mom and dad didn't buy.
My favorite Tooth Fairy reward as a child was a pack of gum and a dime. Of course, that was 40 years ago, but it still makes me smile when I smell cinnamon gum.
Have fun with it and be creative! Stock up on little things that your daughter loves and will make her grin and brush!
The whole Tooth Fairy thing is to promote good oral hygiene, not break the Tooth Fairy's bank.
Take the Next Step:
- Visit the TDS library to get money-saving tips for reducing your family's dental costs.
- It is never too early to start teaching your children the importance of saving. Compare savings and money market account rates and open an account for them today.
- It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.
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