Money, Money, Money

419050330_27d0a2c69dWith a not-so-hot economy, we’re wondering how much dough parents are doling out for the numerous expenses that come with having kids. So tell us, what’s the going rate in your family for…

  • A tooth? Does the tooth fairy leave more for the first or last lost tooth?
  • A gift for a friend’s baby’s first birthday?
  • Presents for your pre-schooler’s classmates’ birthdays?
  • A gift card when you want to spend as little as possible without looking too cheap?
  • Allowance? (When do you start giving it? Does the amount change with age?)
  • A teacher/coach/music teacher’s holiday gift?

Let us know what you think, and your response could end up in Parents!

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  1. by Andrea

    On May 20, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    For birthday gifts I don’t spend more than $20 and I try to spend less by making something inexpensive but heartfelt. I recently made a fabulous tutu for my daughter’s best friend out of materials I already had. It cost me nothing and it was her favorite gift! I’ve also made a felt build-your-own sandwich kit with personalized felt lunch bag, a marker holder, a personalized tool belt that cost $2. If I pair a nice homemade gift with some inexpensive new items I can come up with a great gift that seems thoughtful and not ‘cheap’.

  2. by ashlye

    On May 20, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    TEETH – while my daughter is only 2 and hasn’t lost any of her baby teeth yet, I am thinking consistency is key in determining how much the tooth fairy should leave. Maybe a chart: incicsors $.25, $cuspids, bi-cuspids $.30, pre-molars $.45, molars $.50, etc.? FRIEND’S BABY’S FIRST BDAY – depends on how close you are to the friend! For our closest friend’s baby’s first birthday, we chose a special toy that our daughter loved and purchased one for the baby. It was something that would never break or go out of style and could be passed down to future children, if necessary. I think we spent about $50.00. It doesn’t matter how much you spend, it is the amount of thought that counts. CLASSMATE BIRTHDAYS – what is everyone else spending? Somewhere between $10 and $20 sounds like a good number to me. GIFTCARD – $25.00. ALLOWANCE – give it when the child can a) count, (b) understand how to save and spend money. I believe you should ALWAYS make your child SAVE A PORTION OF HER ALLOWANCE and it should gradually increase with age. Maybe $5 per month for a five year old, $6 for a six year old, etc. Am I too cheap? I’m just thinking how expensive allowances will be once your baby hits high school! TEACHER/COACH GIFT – $25.00 or something meaningful. Spending too much on a gift for someone who provides a service to your child could make them feel overly obligated or uncomfortable. A small token of appreciation will mean more than an extravagant, expensive gift that didn’t have much thought.

  3. by Carlye

    On May 20, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    A tooth? Does the tooth fairy leave more for the first or last lost tooth? Teeth will be $1 for each tooth
    A gift for a friend’s baby’s first birthday?
    Presents for your pre-schooler’s classmates’ birthdays? I usually spend $25 for a first birthday and about the same for a kid’s present
    A gift card when you want to spend as little as possible without looking too cheap? $20
    Allowance? (When do you start giving it? Does the amount change with age?) Probably wont give an allowance for a very long time but when my son turns 13 or so, if he asks, then with some help around the house I can give him around $5-10/week
    A teacher/coach/music teacher’s holiday gift? I spend about $20

  4. by brandy w

    On May 20, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    my kids haven’y lost any teeth yet. i think i’ll do it the way my parents did though. a dollar per tooth. a babys first bday. i would buy like a cute outfit or small toy.
    classmates birthdays i would just bake some cupcakes or cookies. so 5 for baking supplies.
    20 gift cards are a big way to go. always find something you want.
    allowance will start with the school age, but it will mainly be for school lunches. 10 dollars a week. it’ll go up with age. 20 when they hit high school.
    for a teacher give an apple.
    i’m cheap i’ll admit it, but with rising gas and food everything. my money should be going towards food and bills. if you can’t afford a friends birthday gift they should understand. and a cards always nice
    brandy walleshauser
    burlington NC

  5. by DaisyCake

    On May 20, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Tooth Fairy – for the first tooth, the fairy got a charm for my daughter’s charm bracelet and “4 quarters and 5 dimes” – which just HAPPENS to be the exact amount my daughter thought the tooth fairy might bring! My tip is to ask the toothless kid how much THEY think the TF should bring!
    Gift card – $10 to a bookstore

  6. by Alaina

    On May 20, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Cards are getting so expensive, but a nice, thoughful (and cheap!) alternative is to have my girls make the cards. Macie(6) and Zoa(3) love this ‘project’ and the person getting the card loves them also!
    (And, it occupies them so I can wrap the present!)

  7. by Roseann

    On May 20, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    $5.00 per tooth. Yup, inflation! There was a point that I suspected my 5 year old was purposely pulling out her teeth!

  8. by Jackie

    On May 20, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Tooth = $1, stays consistent
    Gift for friend’s baby’s first birthday = $30
    Gift for child’s classmate = $10-15
    Gift cards? = when i don’t have time to find something worth the 10-15 bucks.
    Allowance = starts at junior high when they can start making their own lunches to save their $. 20 bucks a week. This will encourage them to pack their own lunches to save their $. Amount doesn’t change with age, but will go up in College (if they still require an allowance).
    Teacher gift = $20.
    This is reasonable for my family in our situation. I understand that it will be different for others.

  9. by chyk

    On May 20, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    the tooth fairy at our house has become a financial advisor. for each tooth lost she leaves 20 dollars, and instructions to put the money in his college fund. so the next day we take him to the bank and he puts the money in his college fund. he claims the tooth fairy is very unfair (because none of his friends have to deposit their money). on the flip side he admits that he gets more.

  10. by Michele

    On May 20, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    A tooth? Does the tooth fairy leave more for the first or last lost tooth? $5 for the first, $1 for each after that.
    A gift for a friend’s baby’s first birthday? $25.00-$40.00 for a close friend. It varies beyond that.
    Presents for your pre-schooler’s classmates’ birthdays? When DS was in preschool, I would spend no more than $10 per gift. Usually, I spent less than that, though, because I often stocked up on gifts when I found them on clearance somewhere. I actually still do this. I have a closet full of toys to be used as gifts. Most of them, I found for under $5.00.
    A gift card when you want to spend as little as possible without looking too cheap? $10.00
    Allowance? (When do you start giving it? Does the amount change with age?)DS who is 6 gets $10.00 a week. However, $2 goes into his charity bank, $4 into savings and $4.00 into spending.
    A teacher/coach/music teacher’s holiday gift? $25.00

  11. by Natalie Dameshek

    On May 20, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    We love to give tickets to the local children’s museum as gifts when our kids go to birthday parties. You can get the tickets at a discount when you buy 12 at a time so they are $3.50 each instead of $5.
    I also like that it is a “green” gift b/c there is no packaging and no toy is going to end up in a landfill, I guy 12 at a time and save gas not driving all over town the next time I need a gift.

  12. by Sara Beth Roberts

    On May 20, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    For friends birthday parties (from babies to pre-schoolers) I try to stock up when I see things on sale. After Christmas, at the end of the summer, or even just a clearance rack provides a great way to get some good stuff cheap. After Christmas last year Target had rows and rows of clearance toys. I bought tons of stuff, which I store in a bin on one of my closets. I tape a list to the top to keep an inventory of what is available. An idea for gift cards is to stick to a place that you can get a lot of something for not very much–like Starbucks. You can spend 5$ or even 10$ and the person is excited because they can get a drink or two. This works better than giving a 10$ gift certificate to a pricey restaurant, leaving the person with a big bill still–and besides, who doesn’t love Starbucks.
    As far as allowance goes, we have jobs that are kids are required to do just because they are a part of our family–we do not want to pay them for being responsible. However, we do have extra jobs that help mom and dad out and are a good way to earn money. Each job has a price range, depending on difficulty. Once I had my preschoolers pick up pine cones in the back yard (which are such a pain for mowing) and I paid them a penny for each one. It did not take them long to pick up all the pine cones and feel proud when I gave them each a dollar–which they later spent when the ice cream truck came by.

  13. by Amy

    On May 20, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    A tooth? Does the tooth fairy leave more for the first or last lost tooth? – My daughter hasn’t lost any yet, but I am sure I’d do a $1
    A gift for a friend’s baby’s first birthday? – Usually just $15-20
    Presents for your pre-schooler’s classmates’ birthdays? – Probably $10-15
    A gift card when you want to spend as
    little as possible without looking too cheap? – Usually whatever I’d spend on a gift for that person.
    Allowance? (When do you start giving it? Does the amount change with age?) – I didn’t get an allowance when I was younger, because my parents just couldn’t afford it. I probably won’t give my kids one either, because I agree with Sara Beth, I don’t think they need to be payed for what they should be doing.
    A teacher/coach/music teacher’s holiday gift? – Depends. So far I’ve done less then $10 for her sunday school teachers, but she does have 4 of them!

  14. by Kelly

    On May 21, 2008 at 6:40 am

    A gift for a friend’s baby’s first birthday? Depends on the friend $25-40
    Presents for classmates? I am the queen of putting together gifts that you can’t tell how much they cost. Tutus on eBay paired with a fairy wand from the dollar store. Buying bulk when things are on sale so you don’t spend more at the last minute.
    Gift cards? $25
    Teacher gifts? I’ll spend more on because I am putting my child in their hands for the better part of the day and they are an important part of their lives. But I will also scour the outlet stores for really nice stuff at a great price.

  15. by Cory

    On May 21, 2008 at 8:42 am

    A tooth gets a dollar and a pack of sugar free gum.
    A baby present depends how close the friend is but a freind not relative about $20.
    A first birthday about $15 to $20 once again depending how close I am to them.
    I was spending $20 to $25 on my kids friends presents then my daughter had a party and I realized it was more approirate to spend about $10 to $15.
    A good gift card is a movie one because you can buy a movie pass or two and that puts a limit. That is what we did for our highschool babysitter.
    My kids are 5 and under so no allowance.
    The teacher gifts we have given have always been going in on the class gift. $5 each teacher.

  16. by Korta

    On May 21, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Don’t have set amounts for most of this, but for the tooth fairy, we’ve just started… and it’s a set $1 per tooth, even for the first. That’s enough for my daughter to go buy something at the dollar store, so it’s a special treat!

  17. by Nicole M

    On May 21, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I have similar answers to a few others – but here they are:
    A tooth? – We give $1/tooth, except my middle son knocked out his 2 front teeth so he got a little extra for the pain – I think we gave him $10 for the 2 teeth.
    A gift for a friend’s baby’s first birthday? – about $20
    Presents for your preschooler’s classmates birthdays? – about $10
    A gift card? – the same as what I’d spend on a present – min $10
    Allowance? – we started at age 8 for our oldest with $7/week – $1 for charity, $1 for savings, and $5 for spending. He is now almost 11 and we haven’t increased it yet because it hasn’t seemed warranted. He does do household chores but we have approached it as the allowance is not tied to his chores. So he has to help out with chores around the house because he is part of the family, and he gets an allowance so he can learn to be responsible with money and make some of his own choices.
    Teacher/coach/etc holiday gift? – usually about a $10 gift for his teacher. This year we did $10 gift cards for Barnes & Noble that they could also use at the Starbucks in side the store and that seemed to go over well.

  18. by Stacy

    On May 21, 2008 at 11:49 am

    My son is only 14 months, but I’ve been thinking about these things and here’s what we plan to do…
    Teeth – one gold dollar coin per tooth, and a handmade coupon from the “Tooth Fairy” for an ice cream cone (which is like $1 at Dairy Queen) to help soothe the spot where the tooth was
    Baby’s First Birthday – My standard gift is the My Very Own Name book from I See Me (www.iseeme.com). It’s personalized with the child’s name and birthdate, and is much nicer than any other personalized books I’ve ever seen. It’s $29.95 for the first and last name, and then I usually add the middle name for $4.95. You get to include a personalized message in the front (example from my son’s book – This book was created especially for “child’s name” With Love on Your 1st Birthday! Mommy and Daddy 2008). It comes to about $40 with shipping and everything, but it’s a beautiful keepsake, my son love his, and they have great customer service – if a page ever rips or needs replacing, they’ll fix at no cost for the life of the book!
    Classmates’ Birthdays – We’ll spend no more than $20 on a gift, and my child will make the card. We do simple brown wrapping paper (shipping paper – you can buy a big roll for next to nothing) and decorate it with stamps.
    Gift card – $15
    Allowance – We started allowance at 1 year. He gets $1 a week for his personal savings (we have a separate college account). It’ll increase by a dollar for each year of age (so $2 a week at 2, $5 a week at 5, and so on). Once he gets old enough to understand money, he must save 1/2 and can keep 1/2 for whatever he wants, and donate at least $1 to whatever charity he chooses. Allowance will not be tied to chores, which he is expected to do simply because he’s a contributing member of the family, but he can earn extra money for something special by doing extra chores that aren’t part of his daily responsibilities.
    Teacher Gifts – We’ll do something standard, like a gift card to the bookstore or the teaching store, plus a handmade card from my child and maybe something I make (like something edible or something decorative). Probably no more than $25, or maybe $50 if it’s an exceptional teacher who has gone out of his/her way to help my child. As a teacher myself, I know that it’s great when your hard work is noticed and appreciated.

  19. by Jessamyn

    On May 21, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    A tooth: I always got a 50 cent piece but my kids will probably get $1. Maybe I’ll be ambitious and the $1 coin.
    A 1st Birthday: Usually between $25-30, depends on the “right” present.
    Preschool Class Birthday: $10-15. I like to find something great onsale and buy a bunch. Last years winter birthday was either moonsand or shake-n-go racers for the under 3 crowd. The summer present is a bubble machine (usually around $10).
    Gift Card: $15-30 depending on locale, $15 at Starbucks is great, $20-30 works better at restaurants.
    Allowance: We’re not there yet and will need to ponder.
    Teacher/Coach/Music Teacher: Around $20. Usually a giftcard to Barnes and Noble. The babysitter got starbucks.

  20. by Michelle

    On May 21, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    The toothfairy in my house leave $ 2.00 everytime, no matter what tooth..It is exciting and traumatic for a child..It is painful and should be rewarded! A first birthday usually around $ 30.00 is good..I try to spend well since I know they will be coming to all my kids party’s. A classmate is always a $ 15.00 gift card to Toys r Us, with 1 child in school and 1 on the way into school, it seems like there is a party every few weeks!! Allowance: My daughter gets a few quarters every once in a while when she helps out..The class chips in for teacher gifts, they can donate between $ 3 – 5 dollars.

  21. by Reyna

    On May 22, 2008 at 1:24 am

    Wow! No wonder my kids feel like my husband and I are so cheap! If their friends are getting $5 a tooth, their silver dollar for the first tooth and several quarters for everyone thereafter doesn’t seem like much at all!
    I’ve had to pick up several skills over the years that have really helped save us money, plus they make the gifts we give extra special…
    For a new baby, I embroider their name and a cute design on a bib. For birthdays, I like to make blankets or quilts using fabrics with patterns they really like. Toys break or are forgotten about so quickly, but these things are most likely kept as nice childhood memories forever and don’t cost much to make.
    My kids don’t make it to many classmates birthdays unless they are very good friends. In that case, I might volunteer to make a nice birthday cake as the gift (saving the family about $30).
    For teachers, we bake a batch of cookies with a homemade Thank You card with a nice message written inside. As a teacher myself, it is way too easy to collect all of the knick-knacks students give and run out of places to put them. Cards, though, can be put into my scrapbook and kept forever!
    As far as allowance goes, my kids have chores that they are required to do without being paid for because they are part of the family and have a responsibility to help keep our home clean and nice. If they complete their chores and want to do extra, then they can be paid for it. Usually, though, if there is something special they want to do (movies, pool, etc.) we’ll give them spending money if they’ve been behaving well and keeping their grades up. The amount just depends on the activity.
    More than anything, I want to teach my five children that money isn’t something to be taken for granted. It is something you have to work hard for to obtain, and what they decide to do with it is just as important. I’ve noticed that my kids put a lot more thought into what they spend money on if they’ve had to work to earn and save it. But the money they get from, say, their grandparents, they waste on things like candy and soda without giving it a second thought. We’re just trying to instill in them some values they can carry with them into adulthood.

  22. by Rachel

    On May 23, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Many thanks for your comments, everyone!!

  23. by Layla

    On May 27, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Oh, great questions! I love to see what other people are doing, and we compare notes like this on my March 2001 Moms board all the time.
    A tooth?
    $1 per tooth, a Sacagewea coin to make it more special
    A gift for a friend’s baby’s first birthday?
    A good friend? $25-$35, I’d guess…
    Presents for your pre-schooler’s classmates’ birthdays?
    $10-$15 each
    A gift card when you want to spend as little as possible without looking too cheap?
    $25 is usually enough to get a meal or a decent item at Target
    Allowance? (When do you start giving it? Does the amount change with age?)
    We do a chore chart, and my 7-year-old gets 25 cents for every 2 chores she does a week. If she does every chore, she can earn around $2 a week.
    A teacher/coach/music teacher’s holiday gift?
    Holiday gifts for our class teacher I do anywhere from $15-$25, depending on what I can get on sale! End of the year gift, we will probably pitch in $20-$25 with other parents.

  24. by Maria

    On July 21, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Baby’s First Birthday or a holiday gift – My standard gift is the My Very Own Name book from I See Me (www.iseeme.com). It’s personalized with the child’s name and birthdate, and is much nicer than any other personalized books I’ve ever seen. It’s $29.95 for the first and last name, and then I usually add the middle name for $4.95. You get to include a personalized message in the front (example from my son’s book – This book was created especially for “child’s name” With Love on Your 1st Birthday! Mommy and Daddy 2008). It comes to about $30-35 with the free shipping code below, but it’s a beautiful keepsake, my son loves his, and they have great customer service – if a page ever rips or needs replacing, they’ll fix at no cost for the life of the book!
    This code will give you free shipping code is FSD13645.