The Tooth Fairy’s expenses have been rising recently.
Where are we going? To how a child costs more than money.
The Tooth Fairy Cost
If the Tooth Fairy visited your house during 2016, she probably left close to $4.66. Higher than her 2015 cost, that $4.66 price was even more for a first tooth ($5.72).
Also, the price depended on where you live:
What Our Children Cost Us
The tooth fairy is a very tiny slice of the $233,610 that we spend to raise a child through age 17. (The infographics are from the USDA.)
With housing the largest, the expenditure categories are what we would expect:
However, it is not quite that simple.
How much you spend depends where you live. As with the Tooth Fairy, the Midwest is cheapest. But the Northeast exceeds the West and rural areas are less than cities when we look at total cost:
Income and Age
Our income and the age of our children also determine what we spend:
And when we add in an annual college expense, the totals can skyrocket.
Our Bottom Line: Economies of Scale
Perhaps though the cost of children is really about economies of scale. Or, we could say that they are “cheaper by the dozen” when they share a bedroom, pass down clothing and consume cases from Costco.
A married-couple spends close to 27% more on a single child than a family with two children. Meanwhile, compared to that family with two children, having three or more lets you save a whopping 24% on each child.
But not really.
When you think about the intangible cost of time, stress and sacrificed opportunities, those economies of scale shrink.
My sources and more: While my tooth fairy totals were from USA Today and Delta Dental, I suggest looking at the USDA child cost materials for the whole picture. They are voluminous. But the best study was here on the cost of the stress kids create.