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New research has revealed that parents are spending £2,570 per child on average to keep childhood myths such as the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny 'alive'. In fact, some parents are even willing to go over budget to make sure their little ones can continue believing in these mythical creatures.
The research, from TopCashback.co.uk, shows that 21% of parents feel pressured to spend money on keeping certain myths alive, with 29% going over budget because of it. But who costs the most?
The Tooth Fairy costs parents on average £4 per tooth. With 20 milk teeth lost across a lifespan, this means a total cost of £80 altogether. And that's not all – aside from the tooth under the pillow, parents also spend money on giving their children gifts and letters from the Tooth Fairy, and even decorate the house to make the illusion that much stronger, resulting in an average spend of £24. What's more, 44% of parents give their children money on top of the Tooth Fairy's pillow offering.
Easter is a bit more of a modest celebration, with parents spending an average of £28 on egg hunts, gifts and money from the Easter Bunny. However, 56% give their children extra eggs and 29% give gifts and money, which means that the price could end up being quite a bit above average if you're not careful.
Last but not least, and predictably the most expensive, is Santa Claus. The survey found that parents spend on average £173 per child each Christmas to keep their belief in the jolly old man going. Part of the illusion – and the expense – includes letters and gifts from Santa, trips to the grotto, and some parents even go all the way and take their child to Lapland to experience Santa up-close and personal. Not only that, but since Santa isn't always the only one giving gifts, the 69% of parents who give their children additional gifts for Christmas could end up paying a lot more.
While it would of course be nice if you could keep your children believing in magical beings for as long as possible, giving them special memories and a sustained sense of wonder, these little extras shouldn't break the bank. After all, you wouldn't want these magical memories mixed in with memories of your children watching you stress about bills or having to cut back on other things due to debt.
As children tend to keep believing in these mythical and potentially expensive creatures until the age of 10, the total cost of annual celebrations and other expenses is estimated at £2,570 per child, and could be a lot more than that depending on how much extra you devote to keeping their belief going.
Natasha Rachel Smith, editor at TopCashback.co.uk, warned: "Characters like the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are an enjoyable part of childhood. However, parents should not feel pressured to spend a lot of money or go over budget. There are cheap ways to bring these figures to life without a huge expense."
To minimise cost, you can choose to make the celebrations as DIY as possible, with egg-painting and simple handwritten notes from the Tooth Fairy or Santa just some ideas to keep the fun going without breaking the bank. If you know that you just won't be able to stop yourself from spending, why not set up a special savings account, so you're ready to spend whatever you need to when the time comes.
An easy access account would be your best bet for sudden expenses such as those incurred by the Tooth Fairy, while more predictable events could be supported by a regular savings account – if you pay in something each month, you might be able to accumulate enough in interest to pay for the Easter Bunny next year, for example.
Natasha pointed out that: "If parents do want to give their children gifts, it is a good opportunity to teach them the value of money and saving, encouraging them to keep a little for their piggy bank." So why not open a children's savings account and encourage your child to put their tooth money away for later use? They'll surely appreciate the extra funds even more once they pass that magical age and realise you were the one giving them your hard-earned cash all along.
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