MY MONEY

How much the Tooth Fairy is paying for lost teeth in 2019

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"Mum, my tooth is wobbly!"

The first time I heard these words, when my elder son was around five years old, I thought it was adorable. That was until his tooth actually fell out.

It was late one cold winter's evening while he and his brother were brushing their teeth, and just as I was beginning the agonising kid-wrangling bedtime ritual.

"My tooth! My first tooth has come out." I heard. Then, not long after: "The Tooth Fairy is going to come tonight! I wonder how much money I am going to get?"

audie huang teeth
Serina Bird's son Audie Huang. Photo: Kirsty Young.

Luckily for him, and unluckily for the Tooth Fairy, it turned out this event would have long-term financial implications.

The Tooth Fairy knew that my son was about to lose his milk teeth.

He had been wiggling the first loose one like crazy for a week or so. Other kids in his grade one class had lost their first teeth, many in the year before.

We had been reading the Charlie and Lola book My Wobbly Tooth Must Not Ever Never Fall Out, to prepare him mentally for the milestone.

When the event did happen, the Tooth Fairy did not have cash on hand, even after searching the house high and low.

The only amount available that evening was $5, which set a dangerous precedent. From that moment, both  my kids expected to receive $5 per tooth.

The only exception happened the night both Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy visited - perhaps because of Christmas magic, the amount doubled to $10 in a hopefully never-to-be-repeated act of generosity.

For Tooth Fairies who may be reading this and shuddering, let me add I've shared my experience on the kids' party circuit and found $5 is on the high side.

In most households, the Tooth Fairy sprinkles her magic dust, steals the tooth and disappears, leaving a golden coin - $1 or even $2 if she is feeling generous.  In my day it was 20c.

Since the Tooth Fairy waved her magic wand and bestowed $5, there is no going back.

When younger son's first tooth began to wobble, his emotions quickly turned from fear to expectant hope.

He  is on the gifted spectrum with an uncanny ability in maths (and, like his mum, an interest in money).

He began skip-counting the value of the pearly milk teeth in his mouth to calculate what his return would be.

"If I lose all my 20 baby teeth, I could earn $100!" he declared gleefully.  "Enough to buy new Beyblades and a Rubik's Cube. Perhaps I could pull them out right now to get the money."

There is a moral in this. In an increasingly cashless society, Tooth Fairies need to prepare a kitty full of coins - just in case.

This is especially true if you have multiple children, because if are paying $100 each a child it ain't cheap.

How much is fair from the Tooth Fairy? Let us know in the comments!

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Serina Bird is a proud frugalista who has amassed a million dollars through frugal living. Serina's first book, The Joyful Frugalista, is out now. She blogs at The Joyful Frugalista.
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