What is the going rate for the Tooth Fairy?
January 28, 2008 7:50 AM   Subscribe

What is the going rate for the Tooth Fairy?

A dollar? 5 dollars?

The client is an excited 7-year-old who finally lost his first tooth.

(He asked me how much I thought she'd leave. I told him I heard she's been having money problems and has started leaving ketchup packets. He thinks this is hilarious.)
posted by thesneeze to Work & Money (44 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
$1 per tooth.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:57 AM on January 28, 2008

A buck. Preferably as a coin as opposed to a bill.
posted by GuyZero at 7:59 AM on January 28, 2008

In my house it's $5 for a tooth. Sometimes an extra small gift if a note is written to the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy always responds in writing to a note.
posted by Argyle at 7:59 AM on January 28, 2008

Wow, Argyle, I like your Tooth Fairy! In our house, though, it's always been a buck. One of the gold dollar coins is also cool.

I have heard stories that in some houses, the Tooth Fairy leaves a trail of sequins or glitter behind her...
posted by misha at 8:01 AM on January 28, 2008

I used to get two dollar bills -- cheap, but so awesome! Made me keep them instead of spending them.

I got $20 when the tooth fairy was responsible for causing me to accidentally slam my chin on a table and knock out a front tooth. Mom's never forgiven herself. The $20 was pretty good as far as I was concerned, though.
posted by olinerd at 8:02 AM on January 28, 2008

1-2x the cost of a candy bar.
posted by plinth at 8:03 AM on January 28, 2008

$1.00, same as in town.
posted by bondcliff at 8:04 AM on January 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

Man, I used to get a quarter...maybe a buck tops! This was in the early nineties, so I'm surprised things have shot up so much. I think a dollar or two should be fine. Be sure the tooth fairy leave a note explaining what will be done with the tooth, and thanking him for adding to her collection.
posted by piratebowling at 8:07 AM on January 28, 2008

I used to get 10 francs. Around $1.50 or so. Remember this sage advice.
posted by kepano at 8:16 AM on January 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

One dollar. With a note in very flowery script that reminds the child to take good care of her/his teeth and what a good kid they are.

My kids used to write hilarious confessionals to the tooth fairy. Stuff like "Dear tooth fairy, I tell my parents that I'm flossing but I really just make funny faces in the mirror. Don't be mad." My high school daughter recently reread her notes to the tooth fairy that I'd saved after she had her wisdom teeth removed (she got $20 for those)- she laughed so hard she started crying. Her wisdom tooth note said "Dear tooth fairy, your notes always made me smile." (Then I cried.)
posted by Flakypastry at 8:17 AM on January 28, 2008 [9 favorites]

Previously. A quarter is traditional, but many tooth faeries have upped the ante when faced with an "eff that" from the precious little ones upon sight of a quarter.
posted by anaelith at 8:18 AM on January 28, 2008

plinth said (almost) exactly what I would say.

When I was a kid we got enough to get a "nice" candy bar, or a bunch of the cheap stuff. $.01 candy or somewhere in between.
posted by TheDukeofLancaster at 8:18 AM on January 28, 2008

I guess I was ridiculously spoiled as a child...I usually got about $10 a tooth, sometimes more, depending on the level of trauma involved in the removal (for example, $25 when my dad tied my tooth to the doorknob and slammed the door, sending the tooth flying and resulting in a frantic search before the dog ate it...). Adjusting for inflation, I'd say at least $5 is reasonable if you want the kid to be able to go buy a pack of gum or whatever.
posted by meesha at 8:23 AM on January 28, 2008

A quarter is traditional
you must be young ;) before being a quarter it was a dime, and before that a nickel and even a penny.

I think a dollar is the going rate these days, but in the neighborhoods with two or more bmws in the driveways it is probably even more.
posted by caddis at 8:34 AM on January 28, 2008

A dollar bill wrapped around a stick of gum.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:35 AM on January 28, 2008

Adjusting for inflation, I'd say at least $5 is reasonable if you want the kid to be able to go buy a pack of gum or whatever.

Where are you buying your gum? I'm Nthing the $1 coin suggestion.
posted by boreddusty at 8:39 AM on January 28, 2008

I felt like a cheapskate giving $1, but was too stingy for $5, so I gave $3, much to my mom's dismay.
posted by milarepa at 8:45 AM on January 28, 2008

$1, but the ketchup packet chaser could be the nucleus of some nicely twisted childhood memories. A different condiment each time -- mustard, mayo, relish, soy, sweet and sour, tiny bottles of Tabasco... -- you should work it.
posted by mumkin at 8:51 AM on January 28, 2008

A Canadian "toonie". Unique. Decorative. Everybody knows that the tooth fairy, like Santa Claus, is Canadian.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:59 AM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I give either a $2 bill or a gold(ish) $1 dollar coin and a note. Now that my kids are getting older I tell them if they do not believe in the TF, I can assure them she will not come. Only if they are believers will it happen.

I once got pulled over for talking on a cell phone while driving on the Triborough bridge because my 7 year old called to tell me he had lost his first tooth. When I told the officer that I was the tooth fairy or at least the liaison for the TF and the reason for the call, he let me go.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:06 AM on January 28, 2008

$5 for the 1st tooth, $1 for each tooth thereafter (YTD fairy expendures: $7). My son shared his $5 haul with his little sister by picking up her tab from the ice cream man the day after the tooth fairy's visit. It was very sweet (the gesture and the treat).
posted by hhc5 at 9:14 AM on January 28, 2008

I usually received a dollar, in coin form, and wish that the gold coins had been issued when I was a kid. Those are way cooler than 4 quarters. :)
posted by PaintMeRed9 at 9:15 AM on January 28, 2008

$1 in coin form. I guess that would mean Golden Dollars or Susan B's these days, although personally I always imagined the Tooth Fairy sitting on an enormous pile of Eisenhower Dollars (and human teeth) in her secret lair.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:20 AM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Kind of ironic that the tooth fairy trades in candy bars, no? Maybe she gets more teeth that way.
posted by futility closet at 10:00 AM on January 28, 2008

I usually got about 50p (about $1) but that was 20 years ago so $2.50 - $3 would be about right, I don't know why but something about it just says it has to be coin, not paper to me, preferably a single coin - £ are much better setup for coinage than $ iirc, can you get a $2 coin?
posted by missmagenta at 10:04 AM on January 28, 2008

At seven, my kid was the last in her group of friends to lose a tooth. She was insanely jealous, but was also a very good sport about it. When I thought it was going to be her turn soon, I asked her what the best tooth fairy haul amongst her friends had been so far. The average seemed to be about $1, and best to date had been $3.

When it finally happened, the tooth fairy left her $5, and a note saying her first tooth windfall was because she had been last, and so patient.
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:08 AM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I agree with "a dollar in coin form" but... not a dollar coin; that's boring.

Give the kid two quarters, four dimes, 3 nickels and 4 pennies. Next time, change it up a little, but always give a dollar or so. This leaves an air of mystery- "Why is a molar worth more than an incisor?" The speculation will help your child more eagerly anticipate the next loose tooth- "Will I get more or less?" It also teaches the kid to count change.
posted by Doohickie at 10:14 AM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I always got a dollar.
posted by phaded at 10:16 AM on January 28, 2008

We always got a handful of change that added up to around a dollar or so. In the later years (that is, my younger sisters, not me), bills were occasionally added to the equation. Once, the tooth fairy accidentally gave my sister a $20 bill (may have been $10; was many years ago). I remember being kinda mad at her fortune, because I was lucky if I ever got $2 in random change. Plus, for some reason, a bill seemed so much better than the equivalent amount in change at that age.
posted by mysterpigg at 10:17 AM on January 28, 2008

A quarter.

It's not the amount, it's the experience of getting something special.

Most kids don't know or care about the value of money at age 7, they just want a coin. A quarter is a nice size. You can augment it with something special like a marble, or a foreign coin.
posted by zippy at 10:22 AM on January 28, 2008

We gave $5 per tooth because our dentist told the kids that was the going rate.
posted by COD at 10:23 AM on January 28, 2008

I got a quarter as a kid, but the going rate around here seems to be $5 and crazy elaborate rituals involving "fairy dust" and sparkles, at least according to the information my daughter has gathered on her reconnaissance missions at school. The tooth fairy usually gives $1 per tooth in our house, but it's true that the tooth fairy has also provided matching funds to supplement piggy-bank savings and has also been known to comply with written requests. My favorite note from my then seven-year-old to the tooth fairy: "Dear Tooth Fairy, Don't leave me money. Leave me jewelry instead."
posted by mothershock at 10:26 AM on January 28, 2008

Our tooth fairy usually leaves a quarter and a charm to add to an empty charm bracelet that she left one time.

An unusual marble, as mentioned above, might be a good alternative for a boy. My husband says his tooth fairy always left a new silver dollar. It's not the quantity of money that matters. It's the wow factor, and a shiny "dollar coin" is pretty cool.
posted by Catrissa at 11:02 AM on January 28, 2008

It's a quarter. Jesus. Don't contribute to Fairy inflation.
posted by klangklangston at 12:54 PM on January 28, 2008

I think we got a quarter each, but whatever you decide, do it in coin, not paper.
Little fingers love the round, hard feel of a coin and it's shiny quality. It feels heavy in your pocket and, well, just seems more like a tooth fairy kind of thing.
posted by NoraCharles at 1:09 PM on January 28, 2008

the going rate around here seems to be $5 and crazy elaborate rituals involving "fairy dust" and sparkles

You know, eff Martha Stewart and magazines that swell with ideas for how to make your family stuff Special, so that every effing house is up to the gills in Cute Homemade and even simple things have to have effing buyable kits with labelled pouches of fairy dust and so on. Argh.

I say a coin, a recognizable special odd coin. (For us it was always JFKs) The tooth fairy is real, old magic. She doesn't leave purple glitter and craft store feathers. She leaves metallic mystery, and you save that mystery in a little secret box by your bed - you don't spend it like regular money. Don't worry about the price of a candy bar - you can buy the kid a candy bar as your gift, but that's not what the tooth fairy is about.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:22 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's about 2€ here in France - but it's a little mouse that leaves the money not a fairy, an idea that I find vaguely disturbing.
posted by Lezzles at 1:26 PM on January 28, 2008

For me, it was anywhere from like $0.50 to $2.00, always in fairly loose change (having more things made it more fun). I would say if you want them to be able to buy some gum or candy, maybe make it a bit more than a dollar, in case of tax. On the other hand, they don't always need to be able to buy something with it.
posted by !Jim at 1:34 PM on January 28, 2008

I got a 50¢ piece in the 70's... I liked that it was a special coin we didn't see too often. I think a dollar coin or two dollar bill would be cool now.
posted by clh at 1:46 PM on January 28, 2008

I was losing teeth from the mid 80s to the early 90s and got a quarter.

Another idea:

Kid in the schoolyard: "What did you get from the tooth fairy? I got a dollar."
Kid #2: "Oh yeah? I got five dollars."
Kid #3: "I got a dollar coin."
Sneezekid (forlornly): "I got a rock."
posted by srah at 5:02 PM on January 28, 2008

I like to do $50 per tooth which then has to be used to buy a savings bond. I tell the kids that we do this to save up for their braces.
posted by bkeene12 at 8:15 PM on January 28, 2008

I never got anything :(
posted by divabat at 8:18 PM on January 28, 2008

One two dollar bill per tooth.
posted by streetdreams at 9:12 PM on January 28, 2008

So. I am going to say 2 bucks... or a couple dollar coins, as someone mentioned above...

I was also thinking (if you have plethora of craft supplies lying about, as I do) you could also make up a small gift bag, compliments of the tooth fairy... You could include a new toothbrush, travel toothpaste, and a thing of floss... You could decorate the bag with glitter and curling ribbon and sequins... Standard fairy stuff...
posted by Mookbear at 4:41 AM on January 29, 2008

« Older Unnaturally hard to find: the author of this quote...   |   Help my husband and me find a way to make our... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.