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What's a tooth worth? Tooth Fairy says it's now $3

September 04, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • A new survey finds that the average amount left under pillow for teeth now runs $3.
A new survey finds that the average amount left under pillow for teeth now… (Getty Images )

We learned the other day that the average allowance given to kids is now $15, according to the American Institute of CPAs. Now comes word that the Tooth Fairy is also pretty generous.

Our friends at Visa say the average chunk of change left under the pillow for teeth-losing kids is now $3 per tooth. And that's apparently at the low end of Tooth Fairy largess. Some kids receive as much as $20 per tooth.

The experts say Tooth Fairy inflation is not to be taken lightly. When kids compare notes on how much they scored, it can be hurtful to little feelings if it's discovered that the Tooth Fairy leaves bigger bucks to some than to others.

It can even prompt kids to ask parents if the Tooth Fairy is real (which, speaking from personal experience, I can say is a total bummer of a conversation to have).

To put off that fateful day, Visa is offering an app for iPhone and iPad and a calculator on its Facebook page. The app uses the survey's data to determine the average payoff a child can expect based on a parent's gender, education, location, age and income.

It also adjusts for inflation to show how much the recommended dollar amount was worth when the parent was 8.

Me, I think even $3 is a tad pricey for a tooth — just as I think $15 for weekly allowance is a sum that better come with a whole raft of household chores.

I used to leave $1 per tooth. Then my kid (now 11) finally got around to asking about Santa, and I copped to how maybe the fat guy wasn't exactly, you know, strictly speaking, real.

My son was undeterred. Even though he quickly figured that the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny were probably just as surreal as Santa, he still proudly showed off loose teeth and asked how much he could expect.

I countered by asking how much it was worth to him to empty the garbage on a regular basis.

Turns out the Garbage Fairy will pay out on a regular basis. And Dad will even negotiate terms.

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