Lessons from the Tooth Fairy

19 Feb

Hey Skint pals,

Little Skint is at the wobbly tooth stage. Two bottom ones are already out and last week, whilst on a trip to London to visit Mr Skint’s parents, her first top one was dangling by a thread.

 A retired dentist, Grandad predicted that it would be out by the time we left – he was itching to get his hands on it and whip it out himself. We decided to let nature take its course though and sure enough, the night before we were due to return to Glasgow, the tooth gave its last wobble and fell out just before bathtime. Cue much wailing and a not insignificant amount of blood – Little Skint is rather dramatic at the best of times, so the sight of the blood was her personal equivalent of the apocalypse: till we mentioned the Tooth Fairy. tooth fairy

‘Tooth Fairy?’ she grinned through the blood. ‘I’d forgotten about her.’ 

And, just like that, the blood and pain were replaced by hope and plans for buying ice-cream.

 ‘Does the Tooth Fairy come to London?’ Little Skint asked, familiar only with the Fairy’s Glaswegian route.

 Yes, it was confirmed, the tooth fairy sometimes journeyed south. There was some family speculation about whether London weighting applied, quickly quashed by me. 

‘How much does the Tooth Fairy pay again?’ Little Skint quizzed. 

Now, there’s a question that has perplexed parents since records began. ‘£1.50,’ I answered, fast, before anyone else could put in a higher bid.

 ‘Chloe’s Tooth Fairy pays £2,’ Little Skint flashed back.

 What to do when your tooth fairy is, quite frankly skinter/tighter than the Tooth Fairies of school friends? I do feel that in the interests of national family harmony there ought to be some sort of agreed standard – a task perhaps for the Minister for Families and Children, if not the Chancellor himself. 

After all, when you consider the number of children worldwide, and the potential investment in the global confectionery industries as a result of increased Tooth Fairy expenditure, well, it’s a matter surely for the IMF.  

Anyway, Little Skint got lucky that night in London, because the only small change available turned out to be a £2 coin. But she didn’t get off with spending it on ice-cream. I have decided to use the Tooth Fairy’s visits as a little lesson in saving; oh, lucky daughter of mine.  

 A new, highly sophisticated economic formula has been now devised. Twenty baby teeth = 20 x £2 = saving up for something big. I’m currently trying to persuade Little Skint that ‘something big’ is more attractive than frittering the cash away on buying an ice-cream each time the fairy visits.

 I’m even thinking that the Tooth Fairy might leave Little Skint a piggy bank on her next visit, together with a note suggesting the she saves the cash. After all, what’s the point in going along with the expensive traditions of Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc if parents can’t exploit them for their own ideological ends?

Easter Bunny, I’m coming after you next. I will find a way to turn chocolate into a lesson on personal finance if it’s the last thing I do. 

What’s the going rate for the Tooth Fairy round your way, folks? And do you have any thoughts on how to get kids saving? Let the tooth be told!

 Skint x

 Photo credit: historyspaces

12 Responses to “Lessons from the Tooth Fairy”

  1. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life March 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    I really love the idea of giving a piggy bank with the tooth fairy money!

  2. John @ Wild AboutFinance February 28, 2014 at 4:25 am #

    Interesting post you made.That is good call for saving. :)

  3. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer February 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    LOL, great post! Over here we pay our kids $5 for the first tooth (it’s kind of a special deal, after all) and $1 for every subsequent tooth, unless they have to get them pulled by the dentist (two of the kids had to get baby teeth pulled – long story), then they get add’l $$ for pain and suffering, along with a trip to the Dairy Queen for a treat of their choice. :-)

    • Skint in the City February 26, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

      Fair play Laurie, the extra pain deserves a little extra cash!

  4. Bill Dwight February 25, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    Good call on exploiting the Tooth Fairy tradition for a little lesson on saving. To match what we measured on our site a few years ago, you should have stuck with the £1.50. We measured the average per tooth to be $2.31 (after throwing out outliers – molar extractions and the like!) – the mode was $2. We haven’t run the numbers this year, so I guess you can throw in some inflation :-) Here’s the post with the data: http://blog.famzoo.com/2010/03/whats-tooth-fairys-going-rate-these.html

    • Skint in the City February 25, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

      That’s a great post you did there Bill – love the mathematics of calculating the mode, median and mean! You got those guys paying $10 a tooth too – who are these people?? and with inflation as it is I wonder what they’re paying now??

  5. jefferson February 20, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    There is some serious tooth fairy inflation going on in the world! As a kid, I think I got maybe a nickle, but yeah– we’ve started giving a couple of bucks (US) for each tooth and it can definitely add up.

    • Skint in the City February 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      Yes indeed Jefferson. 20 teeth = tidy profit! I’m not dishing out that sort of cash without a lesson in saving at the same time!

  6. J. Money February 19, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    Hahahaha… you are too much, my friend ;) I do think it’s a good one to think about though, you’re right. My babes aren’t big enough yet to even know what money is (one’s 18 mos and the other’s -3 mos) but I’d like to surely find out the “going rate” too. I feel like I received a half dollar or maybe even just a $1.00 bill? Which might have been worth a lot more back then I guess, haha… If you figure it out, please do let me know :)

    • Skint in the City February 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

      Will do J$. Stories flying around here of £10 a tooth – that’s like $16 or something. Per tooth!!!! Those kids have got it made!

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