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How Much Does the Tooth Fairy Pay in Your Household?

A study reported in USA Today this week says the average rate is $3. Is that steep or about right?

It's been a long time since the Tooth Fairy stopped by my household. My children have seen their baby teeth come and go and be replaced by the grown up teeth. My daughter's been through braces and she's had a few "extra" teeth yanked to make room for her smile.

But it's a great tradition, this Tooth Fairy, this night-time visitor who bequeaths a few coins or a few dollars for each bit of enamel our youngsters shed.

Now USA Today has reported on a study by Visa out last week that says the average rate the Tooth Fairy has paid in 2012 is about $3, up 15 percent from last year.

Visa's news release also showed these findings:

  • 3 percent of children receive less than a dollar, down from 7 percent last year.
  • 30 percent of children receive exactly $1.  Last year's survey showed that 29 percent of children received exactly $1.
  • 13 percent of children receive between $2 to $4, down from 18 percent last year.
  • 18 percent of children receive $5, the same amount as compared to last year.
  • 8 percent of children receive more than $5, compared to 3 percent last year.

Would it surprise you to know that Visa also has an app for that? Yeah, you can check the going rate for a tooth on your iPhone or iPad. The author of The Atlantic's article on the topic opens by saying, "I can't decide if the following news is grisly, hilarious, or postmodernly depressing."

How about you? Grisly, hilarious or depressing? What's the Tooth Fairy leave in your household for a lost tooth? Do you feel peer pressure to make sure the Tooth Fairy "keeps up with the Joneses"? 

Bonnie Krueger September 09, 2012 at 02:00 PM
What a fun story...a much needed break from all the political banter... The first tooth is always worth $5 (in theory). HOWEVER, my daughter was at the end of 1st grade and still hadn't lost a tooth. When she finally did, I think the Fairy ponied up a $20 bill. After that, it is $1 a tooth. I remember 35-40 yrs ago getting between a quarter and a dollar.
Jim Frain September 09, 2012 at 02:52 PM
The Tooth Fairy Offers More Money Every Generation....I'm 64 now, born in 1948 and I would receive a nickel, every once in a while a dime from the tooth fairy....My children who are now 35, 33, 30 and 29 received a quarter, sometimes two quarters. My grandchildren are now 10 and 8 (the other three are not losing teeth yet) and both girls always receive $1, sometimes $2. So, in my life the Tooth Fairy has achieved much more wealth to be able to go from a nickel to $2....Thanks for a fun article.
Shawn Greene September 09, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I was always taught it is about a coin. I go to the bank and get 50 cent pieces. My daughter can complain later if I did injustice to her. On something like this, isn't it the thought that counts and not a yearly percentage or cost of living increase?
Amy Studt September 09, 2012 at 05:42 PM
A quarter, a dime, a nickel, a penny. One of each. They were always pleased by the charm of it.
libbie ornstein September 10, 2012 at 12:09 AM
In our house when my boys were losing teeth, it was always the dentist pulling teeth to make room for the new teeth. So it was novacaine usually to remove a tooth. They had a rich tooth fairy- anywhere from $10-$20 dollars or a wax box- baseball cards. We still laugh about it today! My boys are 32 and 33.
meg September 10, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Hmm we still have teeth to loose but my kid wants a credit card !! Fine with me we get plenty in the mail lol
Cathy Mueller Hoffmann September 10, 2012 at 02:07 PM
We just had our first Tooth Fairy visit this weekend, and she brought four $1 bills and a $1 coin (for keepsake). Like Shawn (^^), I always got Kennedy half-dollars, except for what was assumed my last baby tooth, which brought a $2 bill. Either way, it was all about keepsake stuff, not spending money. The first tooth loss for our 5 yr old pulled in $5 total, but the teeth to follow will likely get a half-dollar coin..... and maybe a couple spending quarters ($1 total). :-)
Mike S September 10, 2012 at 03:33 PM
The Tooth Fairy usually brings a 1 dollar gold coin, sometimes 2 one dollar gold coins.
Cindy December 17, 2012 at 05:46 PM
The Tooth Fairy is, in my opinion, too generous. She started out paying my oldest child $1 per tooth, but one night he unexpectedly lost a tooth and she only had a $5 bill left on her so she gave him that. (It was a nice tooth!) I think she figured by the time the next one came around he would forget her over-generosity, but he did not (even though it was several months later). So, since then she has not disappointed any of the three children and always leaves $5. I really wish she had made the extra trip to the store late that night. I'm afraid she's going to go broke soon, especially since recently two of my kids lost 3 teeth between them in one day!
Cindy December 17, 2012 at 05:50 PM
P.S. My children have wanted to keep their tooth in the past, but I have explained to them that the Tooth Fairy pays them for their teeth so that she can give their "baby teeth" to new littles babies who don't have teeth yet. And that is why they are called "baby teeth".

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