Before I dive into the meat of this post, I want to make sure everyone's on the same page. Do you know what a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is?
In a word, it's awesome. If you have recurring health costs, like contacts/glasses, eye exams, prescriptions, etc., you can enroll in a program that allows your employer to deduct money pre-tax from each paycheck. The money goes into a special account for health related costs.
Say you have $500 per year in budgeted medical costs. When you enroll in this program, that money is available to you day one, even if all the money hasn't been deducted from your income yet. Check with your employer to see if this option is available to you under their health insurance plan.
If you're like me, though, and you invested too much money in this year's FSA and don't know how to spend the rest of it, try these options!
- Have you been wanting to go to the dentist or doctor but don't have the cash on hand for a copay? Cha ching! Treat yourself to an appointment. It's a sad reality for many of us. When copays range from $30-$100 per visit, and even more for a specialist, any bit helps.
- Check out the FSA Store. You can buy things like bandaids and sunscreen, but you can also buy travel kits, migraine kits and so much more. Check out the site here!
- If you struggle with a bad habit like smoking, you can use your FSA for smoking-cessation products and classes. And that, my friends, is a gift that will help you save money in the short term and in the long run.
- Likewise, if you've wanted to see a therapist for any reason, you can use the rest of your money to cover a few sessions. And if you enjoy it, you can always budget it for next year.
- And lastly, you can buy a heated neck rest or cooling eye mask to help you ~unwind~ at the end of a tough week. Go ahead, you earned it.
In all seriousness, it's time to start thinking about how you're going to spend that money. Whether your insurance ends on October 30 or December 31, use that money or lose it.
And trust me, you don't want to lose it, because that would mean you wasted money each paycheck. And if you do find yourself having to purchase these extras, be sure to plan accordingly for next year so you don't find yourself in the same situation.