I’ve Been Wasting Money on Toothpaste — Have You?

Ever since I was placed in the “gifted” class in elementary school, I’ve liked to pretend that I was at least a bit smarter than the average bear. And yet, every few years, something occurs that smashes my premise and shows me how dumb I really am — like when I was 24 and learned that the proper lyrics to the “Star Spangled Banner” are “whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight” and not “who’s brought stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight.” The latest edition of this embarrassing trend came as I learned that I’ve been misusing toothpaste for decades and probably wasted a fair bit of money in the process as well.

Now I’m not suggesting that toothpaste is a waste of money in and of itself. Instead, I’ve recently learned that I’ve just been using too much of it. Despite years of commercials that display completely covered toothbrushes like a caterpillar on a leaf, it turns out the proper amount of paste per brushing is about the size of a pea. Apparently my wife was already well aware of this fact so I’m not sure how it eluded me for some long.

While this overusage probably wasn’t too harmful to my dental health, thinking back it’s probably had a pretty sizeable impact on my bank account. If you assume that I’ve been using four times more toothpaste than I needed on a daily basis over the course of the 14 or so years since I’ve lived on my own, that has to really add up. Sure, at an average cost of about $3 per tube, we’re not talking about a semester of college wasted on Colgate here, but it’s significant nonetheless.

So why am I sharing this? For one, even more than I pride myself on being relatively intelligent, I also fancy myself as having a good sense of humor. Thus, it’s enjoyable to poke fun at my stupidity and let others in for a laugh. However, even if my limited polling of friends in the days since my discovery has suggested otherwise, I have to believe there are still others out there with the same toothpaste misconceptions I had until, say, three weeks ago.

With that, hopefully this silly revelation of mine can help you save some money moving forward — and prevent you from feeling as dumb as I did.


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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