”Tooth Fairy Inflation” Helps Grandma Give Gifts that Teach Finance

Tooth FairyThe funniest story in our family about the tooth fairy is when our daughter did not have a bill less than $20 the night our grandchild lost a tooth.  She left a note from the tooth fairy with the $20 bill that said the tooth fairy needed change and this was an advance toward the next lost teeth.  Our grandchild was smarter than our daughter.  The grandchild said the tooth fairy had so many children to think about that she would never remember this!  The grandchild got $20 for the tooth.

A dollar was a lot when our daughter got money from the tooth fairy.  So when I saw the article, “Trading $5 for a baby tooth?  Thank Tooth Fairy Inflation,” in the Sun Sentinel on September 11, 2013, I chuckled.  Chris Taylor, the author said:

 . . .a survey shows just how dear a baby tooth has become.  The national average is now $3.70 per tooth, up 23 percent in a single year and 42 percent in just two years, according to a study released by credit card company Visa. . . .It is due to a combination of things: one is a reflection of an improving economy, and that parents feel they can afford to be generous in small areas.  The other real driver is angst.  It is very hard for us to say “no” to our kids.

What!  That is the parents’ job.  Parents are the ones who are supposed to say no to kids.  It is supposed to be grandparents who never say no.  Now this Grandma finds out that the author and those he interviewed also think parents are going overboard:

For a full set of 20 baby teeth, at the going rate, that works out to $74.  Especially for a young child, that is a serious sum.  Indeed, some Tooth Fairies – or their parental representatives – are taking things to an extreme.  Nearly 6 percent are leaving more than $20 a pop, and 2 percent actually give a whopping $50 or more for a single tooth. . . .Parents between 18-24 say they tuck almost $5 under the pillow.  And kids in the Northeast seem to be reaping the most booty, at an average of $4.10 per tooth. . . .some parents go crazy with things like Tooth-Fairy branded pillows and special boxes for the teeth. . ..It’s like, enough already.

Yes, this Grandma agrees.   It is Grandma who splurges on Tooth Fairy pillows and Tooth Fairy boxes, not parents.   This Grandma applauds the Tooth Fairy Inflation by parents if the children also learn finance, but objects to parents intruding on our turf.  Tell the parents of your grandchildren that grandma shall buy the Tooth Fairy pillow or box.

There are amazing tooth fairy boxes and pillows out there.  Consider purchasing them for a holiday present when the grandchild is around five or a visit present when the grandchild says he or she has a first tooth loose.  Of course, one of this Grandma’s favorite websites, Chasing Fireflies, has a whole department under the category “Tooth Fairy.”There are more than fifty to choose from and my favorites are in pewter.  For the frugal grandma, Amazon has boxes starting at $5.

Now what should the young grandchildren do with their new found wealth, especially since grandma will buy them what they want anyway?  There was a great article in the Miami Herald, December 12, 2009, “Gifts that Teach Financial Savvy,” by Eileen Connelly, that I kept.  I love her ideas.    The first is the Money Savvy Pig, a piggy bank in bright translucent colors that has four slots, each labeled either “save,” “spend,” “donate,” or “invest.”  There is a football bank as an alternative.  This is a great gift for grandchildren at $20.

Another great recommended gift is a book, “Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday,” by Judith Viorst.  Ms. Connelly says that, “[i]t tells the story of a boy who receives a dollar from his grandparents, the things he dreams of buying, and how the money starts to slip away. “  $8 at Amazon.

She recommends games for elementary school children such as Pay Day, Life, and Monopoly.  Great ideas for holiday presents and fun to play with grandchildren.  She also recommends buying single shares of stock as framed gifts as One Share:

The colorful certificates which will bear the recipient’s name, are available for 163 publically traded companies.  Stock in The Walt Disney Co., bears drawings of iconic characters including Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and Winnie the Pooh.  Holiday orders will come in two shipments:  You’ll receive a startup kit, that includes a booklet explaining stocks and a gift card describing the share purchased; the stock certificate will arrive six to eight weeks later. . . .Young children will enjoy claiming ownership in companies they know, such as McDonald’s, Build-A-Bear Workshop or Mattel.  There’s also plenty of choices for older kids and adults, from Apple to Yahoo, and Boston Beer Co. to Tiffany & Co.

The charity that Ms. Connolly recommends is not a highly rated charity.  This Grandma likes telling children about charities and having them pick a highly rated charity that helps children.   That also teaches finance to children.   CNN had an article about Charity Watch that rates charities.  Charity Watch gave an A+ to Save the Children site  who advertises on their website that 89% of the donations  in 2012 went to program services.   They also gave an A+ to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America . From their website they say, “[f]or more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.”  Great ideas for a charitable donation from the “lofty amount” of tooth fairy booty with





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