Don’t waste your FSA dollars: Here are 43 great ways to spend them before they expire | CNN Underscored
This article is part of CNN Underscored’s “The Reset,” an editorial package featuring all of our articles aimed at giving you the information and product recommendations to help achieve any and all new year resolutions.
You bought new eyeglasses, squeaked in a dental appointment and stocked up on over-the-counter drugs. But if there’s still money in your flexible spending account (FSA), you better spend those pretax FSA funds quickly before the deadline hits and they all disappear.
That’s why we’ve rounded up a quick and easy list of products available in the FSA Store, offers which are offers more than 4,000 FSA eligible items.
If you’re not sure exactly what an FSA is and why it’s important that you spend your pretax dollars, we’ve got you covered with a quick guide.
A flexible spending account (FSA) is offered through many employer benefit plans and allows you to set aside pretax money for eligible health care-related, out-of-pocket expenses for you, your spouse and dependents.
With each paycheck you receive, a certain amount of money is put aside before taxes. This pretax money is for FSA spending, and is meant to be used on eligible health care expenses throughout the year. While the specific amount differs depending on your tax bracket, there are calculators available to help you estimate your savings amount.
Most FSA participants are part of a “use it or lose it” plan, which states that all the money left in your account by the end of the year must be forfeited. The unused amount left in your account can’t be paid out to you in any other way, and you can’t transfer money to any other FSA. So it’s important to keep in mind the annual Dec. 31 cutoff date.
The good news is that many employers provide a grace period of up to two and a half months into the new year for you to use the money, giving you until March 15 to spend it all. But you’ll want to check with your employer, because grace periods can be shorter.
Common purchases include everyday health care products like bandages, thermometers and glasses. Everything from medical expenses that aren’t covered by a health plan (like deductibles and co-pays to dependent day care) to over-the-counter medication can also be eligible.
The downside is that the specifics of what you can spend your FSA funds on depend on the plan your employer has in place. The upside? You can skip the extensive research by shopping at the FSA Store.
So rather than watch that hard-earned money simply go kaput, we’ve rounded up some useful, FSA-eligible expenses at the FSA Store to shop before the deadline.
Work out those kinks, whether they’re from hours spent behind the computer, an extra-tough workout or just everyday wear and tear, with this heated pain relief device that comes with multiple attachments to really target your pain points.
Fan of weighted blankets? It’s time for a weighted heating pad. This 4-pound model offers heat therapy and a massage feature and comes in either six settings (three heat, three massage) or 12 settings (three heat, nine massage).
Help prevent the risk of infection in minor cuts and scrapes with these 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes.
Band-Aid Flexible Fabric Adhesive Bandages, Assorted Sizes
Stock up on your medicine cabinet essentials with this 100-pack of Band-Aids for less than $9.
Fight acne even during the day with this invisible, nondrying daytime patch that protects for faster healing.
Use your FSA dollars to stock up on liners with this box, available in 50-count, from U by Kotex.
These certified organic cotton pantiliners are lightweight and infused with essential oils.
Supergoop! Body Butter SPF 40
This broad-spectrum SPF 40 lotion protects your skin from the sun and moisturizes it at the same time.
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This nongreasy and soothing ointment from Aquaphor helps treat and protect against dry skin.
There are many people who grind their teeth at night. But with many mouthguards so expensive, this one allows you to help protect your teeth for less than $25.
It’s always good to have some Neosporin on hand to help prevent infection and heal your cuts and scrapes faster.
23andMe Health Service
Learn more about your family’s history with this at-home DNA testing kit from 23andMe.
This oil-free acne spot treatment acts fast and is suitable for normal, oily and combination skin.
Revamp your daily face routine with this dermatologist-recommended acne wash from Neutrogena.
TheraBand Pain Relief Foot Roller
Treat yourself to a nightly foot massage with this small roller designed to stretch the plantar fascia and soothe tired, achy feet. Want extra relief? Pop it in the freezer for cooling pain relief.
This roll-ball massager gives you cold therapy pain relief to help ease those achy muscles.
This kit holds 35 items, including bandages, an ice pack, safety pins, small scissors and more.
Johnson & Johnson Red Cross All-Purpose First Aid Kit
If you’re in need of a bulkier first aid kit, check out this one from Johnson & Johnson Red Cross, which features 160 items.
A portable, lightweight way to measure your oxygen and pulse.
Sitting in front of a computer all day might not be the best thing for your back. If you need some pain relief, try this acupressure cushion from Kanjo.
This device uses electrical muscle stimulation to relax stiff muscles, help increase blood circulation and help reduce swollen feet and ankles.
Welly Bravery Badges Colorwash Assorted Flex Fabric Bandages, 48-Count
These premium, flexible bandages protect your small cuts and scrapes, plus they come in bold tie-dye patterns and colors.
Supergoop! Handscreen, SPF 40
Protect and hydrate dry hands with this SPF 40 moisturizing cream.
When cold and flu season hits, it hits hard. So be prepared with this handy nasal inhaler to help alleviate congestion, dryness and other symptoms.
New shoes? No problem! Whether you’re breaking in a new pair of cross-trainers or stilettos, these synthetic strips help keep blisters and chafing at bay.
Dagamma Duosmart Ear and Forehead Thermometer
This app-enabled thermometer can measure through both your ears or your forehead, with nearly instantaneous results.
Developed by the Stanford BioDesign program, this handheld device is safe for ages 3 and up and gently cleans ears, eliminating the need for cotton swabs.
Help relieve back pain and discomfort with this gadget that uses a dual inflation mechanism to lift, stretch and separate joints in your spine.
This cordless steam inhaler can help alleviate symptoms of the common cold, including congestion, sinus infections and more. The handheld device spreads steam right to your nose, throat and mouth for instant relief, plus a medical-grade HEPA filter ensures the steam is germ-free, allergen-free and pollutant-free.
This totally invisible sunscreen will keep you safe from the sun’s harmful rays without leaving white streaks on your skin.
Get subtle color with sun protection when you swipe on this moisturizing, water-resistant, paraben-free tinted lip balm.
Treat any acne flare-ups with this noninvasive battery and USB-powered device. Choose from six medical-grade LED lights to help prevent or calm acne. Bonus: It’s portable, so add it to your suitcase for treatment on the go.
This easy-to-use digital thermometer gives you measurements in just eight seconds.
Bausch and Lomb Biotrue Multipurpose Solution
Contact lens wearers: Stock up on this lubricating solution that will keep your eyes moist and healthy.
Soothe and relax aching muscles with this heating pad from Caring Mill that comes with four heat settings and a moist/dry heat application.
The dpl Oral Care Light Therapy System uses infrared blue and red light to help reduce conditions like gingival bleeding and inflammation, gingivitis, halitosis, erosion, and cold sores.
Stretch out your spine with these Chrip wheels. With three different height options, you can stretch out, massage or target knots.
And for the rest of your body, use this vibrating foam roller to relieve tightness and help your muscles recover faster.
Theraflu Night Time Severe Cold & Cough Powder
Stay on top of cold and flu season by grabbing this Theraflu Severe Cold & Cough Powder which relieves symptoms with the help of honey lemon, white tea, and chamomile flavors.
Perfect for hiking, camping or for those constantly being get feasted on by bugs, this gadget can help offer some relief and help spare you from hours of itchiness..
When the time calls for a soothing soak, grab these epsom salts to add even more healing to your self-care ritual.
Need totally blacked out and undisturbed sleep? Grab this IMAK weighted compression eye pillow, which is also freezer safe and washable.
Looking to ease tension on your neck and back? Try this acupressure mat set for at-home relief.