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Last-Minute FSA Spending Ideas

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With only three days left in the year, a lot of people are scrambling to spend down their Flexible Spending Accounts before the balance expires worthless. It’s a crazy system but those are the rules. Fortunately, if you can’t squeeze in any end-of-the-year dentist appointments or medical checkups, you can always spend them on eligible over-the-counter supplies you will likely need next year. I’ve put together a list of things I usually stock up on if I find myself with a few extra bucks.

In the past I’ve always bought a lot of my OTC products on Drugstore.com because they helpfully label which items are FSA-eligible, which takes a bit of the guesswork out, and because I won’t have to pay sales tax on my purchases. Amazon.com is a good place too but they don’t label FSA eligible products.

Last Minute FSA Ideas

  • Contact lens solution
  • First aid kits – When I’ve stocked up on everything else, I just buy some first aid kits to put in the car, my wife’s car, our kitchen, our upstairs closet…
  • Band-aids, blister band-aids
  • Motion/sea/car sickness pills
  • Pain relief – Advil, Tylenol, Bayer, etc… you can’t have too much.
  • Electric heating pads
  • Thermometers
  • Allergy medicine – Loratadine is always good to have, it’s the antihistamine in Claritin, at a fraction of the price.
  • Healing lotions – They often smell like medicine but they’re good for you.
  • Acid reflux drugs – I don’t use them often but when I need them, it’s awesome to have them handy.
  • Smoking cessation products
  • Braces, supports, ACE bandages
  • Ice packs – for those sprained ankles
  • Blood pressure monitor – instead of using the trusty arm wrap pump (I made up that name) and stethoscope, go 21st century!
  • Defibrillator – This is for when you’ve grossly under-estimated your spending, by like a thousand dolllars or more, you can consider getting one of these. It’s for cases like where you planned on Lasik but then couldn’t get the procedure. These things usually last only a couple years too (pads last for around 2, battery for four, and you need to frequently test them), but they are lifesavers if you have a heart attack..

Good luck!

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6 Responses to “Last-Minute FSA Spending Ideas”

  1. Certainly. Good luck to anyone that needs to spend their money.

    Too bad we don’t have FSA’s in Canada. Our system is very different.

  2. Yoni says:

    The “trusty arm wrap pump” has a much cooler real name: Sphygmomanometer
    (isn’t that fun to say aloud?)

  3. Carla says:

    This is interesting! I never even thought some people have leftovers at the end of the year. The max I can take out annually is $3000 and I usually spend all of it buy June.

    • jim says:

      We usually spend it all too but occasionally we have a few dollars left and have to use them on some of these random items.

  4. LOL! You put your finger on what’s wrong with an FSA if you’re generally healthy and your health insurance plan is decent: at the end of the year, you have to run out and blow MORE THAN THE ALLEGED TAX SAVINGS (which in my case has always been about nil, anyway) on junk you don’t need.

    Thanks. I’d rather have my full paycheck and put the amount that might have gone into an FSA into an emergency savings fund.

  5. Jerry H. says:

    We did the same thing last year. we had almost $150 left in our FSA and didnt want to lose it. then our neighbor told us about the Fresh Air Club and how we should have our home air filters delivered instead of worrying about going to the store all the time (plus it was cheaper than home depot). So we went to http://www.freshairclub.com and signed up for their air filter subscription service. since my wife an i both suffer from allergies, this was a great way to keep the air in our home pollen free! Plus, we didnt lose our FSA dollars.


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