When you were a kid there was always a doofus in the playground who claimed their mum gave them $20 when they lost a tooth, which seemed hard to believe. So what’s the going tooth fairy rate these days?
Inflation seems to have hit every aspect of life, and while today’s rate sits at 2.2%, toothflation seems to have hit the hip pockets of parents, ahem, tooth fairies at extortionate levels.
My neighbour, in his eighties and before decimal currency was introduced, was paid threepence, or about $1 in today’s money. Although, if you were a kid in the '30s or '40s you might have been lucky to have been paid anything at all, with you know, the Great Depression and World War II and all that.
If you were a kid in the '60s like my father was, you might have been paid 10c to 20c for a tooth, which equates to about $1.20-$2.40 in today’s money. As a kid in the 90s/early 2000s, I was paid about $1 a tooth that graduated to $2 for a molar, or about $3.20 today.
So how much does the tooth fairy cough up these days? If you wanted to play the ultimate dad joke, you - I mean the tooth fairy - could pay $2.30. But that peak humour is likely lost on little Jaxon and Tamika, so what’s the deal?
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How much does the tooth fairy pay?
It’s a bit of a contentious topic, but a gold coin seems to be about the going rate.
A poll organised by Savings.com.au for the website letsgomum.com.au and its Facebook group found more than half of parents (60%) pay more than $2 for a tooth, while 40% pay less than $2 - the poll attracted more than 500 votes.
Let’s hear the rationales from other parents and experts for what the cost of a tiny tooth should be.
A dollar or so
One parent told Savings.com.au that it’s directly related to the cash she has in her wallet at the time, or the largest coin available, “because the kids relate the size of the coin to its value”.
Bless our massively-oversized 50c pieces.
Author and professional speaker Dr Jo Lukins said the tooth fairy used to front up with $1 per tooth, “until they stopped believing”.
“My 13 year old son was very late to losing any teeth - much to his great dismay,” she said.
“His prep class had a 'tooth register' and he never featured on it and didn't lose a tooth til he was eight years old.
“One evening (I think he was about 7) frustrated by that he placed a tic tac under his pillow to trick the tooth fairy.
“Sadly the tooth fairy placed some monopoly money under his pillow.
“He was both annoyed and impressed with the tooth fairy that she was as sneaky as him.”
Tooth fairies aren’t to be trifled with.
Two to five dollars
Dr Adrian Raftery, also known as Mr Taxman, is father to two children under eight, and he pays $5 for the first tooth, then $2 for each subsequent tooth.
Many comments on the Let’s Go Mum Facebook page also supported that idea, saying $5 for the first and $2 for subsequent teeth was appropriate.
Others also said it was contingent on the quality of their children’s brushing.
On the other side of the coin - pardon the pun - some
parents tooth fairies are forking out a lot more.
Katinda Ndola who runs the motherhood website ilovestrongwomen.com says… “I am a parent of an 11 year old who still believes that there is a tooth fairy. The average going rate is between $50 to $100.”
Dr Lukins said, “I do know parents that have forked out $50 for a tooth - note I called them parents, not friends. Crazy.”
While we can’t knock parents giving their kid $50 - you could tax them and teach them the harsh truths of the real world - it could add up.
A child typically loses all 20 of their milk ‘baby’ teeth, which could add up to $1,000. If you’ve got two or more kids, that’s potentially a nice interstate holiday or new bikes for Christmas.
Or you could just do what all parents seem to do these days and source advice from Bluey. Bluey is chuffed at getting $5 for a tooth ('Market' - Season 1, Episode 20), but thinks it’s enough for a day at the Royal Show. Ha, silly Bluey, you can’t even get a Dagwood Dog for that.
Savings.com.au's two cents
At the end of the day, only you can decide what’s a fair price to pay for a tooth.
We like the idea of paying the biggest coin, especially if your child is young. A 50c piece may convince a 5-6 year old, but may not impress an 11 year old who has snacks to eat and friends to play Fortnite with.
Five dollars for the first and $2 for subsequent teeth also seems popular, but if you’re raising a few kids, that could definitely add up.
There could also be value in paying your kids a bit more, and using it as some sort of saving mechanism or money lesson. Tax them 45c on the dollar - make them feel the wrath of the taxman! Just kidding.
Or you could just go the tried-and-true gold coin. If your kids cut sick, tell them the tooth fairy doesn’t like whingers.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash