Employer benefits are pretty slim these days (gone are the days of fully-funded retirement pensions), so when your company offers you a benefit, you figure it’s probably a good idea to take advantage of it – and you’re right.
If you signed up for your Flex Spending Account (FSA) during open enrollment, you might not have been completely sure of how much to fund it with. If you were conservative with your contribution, you’ll likely end the year having spent for ALL qualified expenses in a tax-advantageous way. But for the rest of us, if you over-estimated what you should contribute you probably have some money left over. Some companies offer a 2.5 month extension period (allowing you to use up your funds through next March) and others allow you to roll a maximum of $500 over to the following year. You’ll need to check your plan specifics to know if your employer opted for either of these policies
If your company doesn’t offer an extension or a roll, and you’d rather avoid a visit to your dentist – you floss daily and have been cavity-free since the third grade – here are some other, sometimes forgotten about things you can use the rest of your FSA dollars for.
8 overlooked FSA Eligible Expenses
- Acupuncture – The holidays are stressful. Let’s be honest, LIFE is stressful. If you’re one of those people who finds the idea of being stuck with needles oddly relaxing, then treat yourself to a few appointments with a qualified acupuncturist.
- Contact Lenses – If your prescription usually stays pretty consistent, stock up on contact lenses. Keep an extra pair in your purse, toiletry bag, etc. Contact solutions count, too.
- Athletic Support – You’ve hit your 30s and that 6-mile loop around Central Park feels more like 10. A little lumbar support, please.
- Pharmacy Items (without a prescription) – Bandaids, nasal spray, chapstick, Dr. Scholl’s gel cushions, and even condoms all count (here’s your chance to stock up).
- Pharmacy Items (with a prescription) – Pain relievers, cold medicine, acne treatments, eye drops and good ol’ Vicks are a few to name.
- Baby Accessories – As a new parent, there are a lot of new costs to adjust to. Take advantage of paying for things like diaper rash cream, a breast pump, and accessories, baby medicine like ear drops and fever and pain relievers all with your pre-tax FSA money.
- Prenatal Vitamins – In a similar vein, prenatal vitamins, pregnancy tests and OTC contraceptives are also considered qualified expenses.
- Body Scans – Mammograms and other body scans are super important. If you’ve hit the recommended age and have been considering getting one, consider using your flex dollars here, to check it off your to-do list. You’ve been smart with your health and your wealth!