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Tooth Fairy Feels the Pinch After Overspending

Last updated 4 years ago

Apparently the Tooth Fairy's average valuation for teeth fluctuates each year.  A new study by Visa tracked the Tooth Fairy's average spending per tooth since 2009.  And although her donations don't match up to the market exactly, she isn't immune to the economy and has some interesting spending trends of her own.    

This year (2014) she reportedly gave 8% less than in 2013.  Giving an average of $3.40 per tooth in 2014 compared to $3.70 in 2013.  In 2012, she left a mere $3.00, which jumped 23% into 2013 before falling slightly in 2014.  In 2010 the average was also $3.00, which fell to $2.60 in 2011.  Overall, the Tooth Fairy's inflation far exceeds that of the traditional rate of inflation.  And rates were only slightly effected during the recession.  Looking at what she leaves is not only an indication of our economic state but also our cultural attitudes and consumer confidence.

In 2013, the Tooth Fairy much more frequently left a whole $20 dollar bill but has cut back on that generosity in 2014- leaving a twenty note 6% of the time in '13 and only 3.6% of the time in '14.  The study found that fathers are much more likely to give larger amounts based on what is in their wallet the night of the Tooth Fairy's visit, whereas mothers are more deliberate in their spending.  On average fathers gave $4.20, while mothers shelled out an average of $2.90; a 45% difference.

Jason Alderman, Visa's VP of global financial education launched the study after his own children began losing teeth.  He was fascinated about the Fairy's spending habits but didn't know how much she usually left per tooth so he began to track the national average by year.  Adding that he believes the Tooth Fairy can be an excellent tool to teach kids the value of saving vs spending. And that he believes there is no value in the Tooth Fairy being overly generous, stating "sanity and stabilization has brought down the average and that's a good thing."

Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University, finds that usually kids on the playground do not compete over how much they received but instead usually discuss the fact that the Tooth Fairy visited and the excitement over losing a tooth.  Also finding that children are usually more fascinated by coins than paper money. Yarrow believes there is merit in the whole notion of a Tooth Fairy, "Losing body parts can be disconcerting and it's turned into something magical and fun with the tooth fairy."  



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