How to Maximize Your Flexible Spending Accounts
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As this year wraps up, we're making sure we finish on a high note. Part of that means making sure our finances are in a good spot.
One huge change is switching our health insurance plans (more on that soon!).
Before we switch over, though, we have to make sure we use up all of our Flexible Spending Account (FSA) money.
Why Flexible Spending Accounts Rock
Flexible spending accounts use pre-tax dollars. You sign up through your employer and a certain amount is deducted every paycheck.
That means you can lower your tax obligation while getting your medical expenses paid.
You have the entire calendar year to use your account to cover your medical expenses.
With an FSA, if you don't use the funds, you lose them. Thankfully, our healthcare expenses have been lower than we estimated.
Since we have no interest in wasting our hard earned money we're spending it on supplies.
The good news is that there are several qualifying expenses that your FSA can cover.
To give you an idea of the variety of expenses that your FSA, here are some of the more common ones:
- ambulance service
- chiropractic care
- eye exams
- contact lenses
- eye glasses
- blood pressure monitor
- diabetic monitors
- first aid kit
- flu shots
- breast pump
Some over the counter items like allergy, cold, antibiotic cream, and antacid need a prescription if you want to use your Flexible Spending Account.
Since the IRS has the final say on what's eligible for reimbursement, keep all your receipts handy. (My suggestion is to go ahead and scan a copy for your records. Ink on receipts tend to wear out quick.)
With some ‘extra' cash, I decided to take care of some vision needs.
I made an appointment with my optometrist to get new prescriptions for contacts and glasses.
I usually wear contacts for my day to day, but I like to have a solid pair of glasses for backup. (Springtime, I tend to rely on them when my allergies are at their worst.)
Even though I have money to spend, I'm still looking for a good deal. I went with DiscountGlasses.com to order my glasses.
I managed to snag a new pair with the platinum lens package; it comes with the UltraThin, UV-Protective Coating, Scratch-Resistant Coating, and Anti-Reflective Coating for less than $80!
Since Discount Glasses (and their sister site, DiscountContactLenses.com) are U.S. based, they have a pretty fast turnaround schedule. Plus, they have free shipping on any size order and 365-day free return shipping.
If you have money left in your FSA, take advantage and get your supplies now before the year is over!
How Much to Save in Your FSA
If you're starting an FSA for next year, figuring out what you need to tuck away can seem tricky.
My suggestion is to be more on the conservative side for your first year. Look at your co-pays and whether or not you two have any need for dental or optometrist visits.
From there you two can sit down and review things and see if you need to increase or decrease what you contribute.
Thoughts on Maximizing Your Flexible Spending Account
Now that you see how we handle our flexible spending account, I'd love to hear from you. Have you used up your FSA money? What expenses did it cover?
Disclaimer: Thanks to DiscountGlasses.com for sponsoring this post. While I have been compensated, all opinions expressed are my own.