Want to start 2015 on a high note? There’s no better way to do that than by saving a little money before the new year begins. You can accomplish that by taking full advantage of your flexible spending account (or FSA). These accounts are provided by your employer, and they have tons of benefits.
First, they work to offset costs of medical items or services that aren’t covered by your health insurance. Additionally, FSA accounts help you save on your taxes. You make FSA contributions through regular payroll deductions, so you end up owing the IRS a little less in federal income and Social Security taxes. However, there is one huge disadvantage to your FSA account - if you don’t use what’s in the account by the end of the year, you lose it!
So, to help make sure you fully take advantage of your flexible spending account, here are 5 ways you can use the money!
1. Teeth cleanings
If you don’t have specific dental insurance, teeth cleanings are a great use of your FSA funds. Most dentists recommend getting your teeth cleaned every 6 months for optimum oral health. Dental checkups are also essential for your overall wellness, so using your FSA money for this use is really smart.
2. Acupuncture treatments
Most alternative medicines are not covered under traditional health insurance. Acupuncture (and other Eastern medicine techniques) are eligible under your FSA. Acupuncture is used to treat everything from back and neck pain to migraines. If you’ve always wanted to try acupuncture, book an appointment, and use your FSA money to pay for the session.
3. Buy glasses or contacts.
The end of the year is the perfect time to get in to see your eye doctor. Regular eye exams are important in keeping you well, so it’s a great idea to use your FSA for a checkup. Your FSA can also help you pay for a new pair of glasses or contacts. For specs, check out a site like EyeBuyDirect; they offer tons of affordable pairs, plus discount codes to help you save even more!
4. Chiropractic visits
Chiropractic treatments are another practice not usually covered by health insurance. If your plan doesn’t cover these sessions, consider using your FSA money to take care of the expense. If you suffer from neck or back pain, chiropractic visits can sometimes be of use. Plus, you don’t have to worry about covering the cost if you use your FSA funds.
5. Medical supplies
Not everyone is aware that FSA also covers over-the-counter products. Although it takes a little time and effort to use the funds for medicine (you need a doctor’s note even if you don’t need a prescription), you can use your FSA to purchase medical supplies. Items like blood-pressure monitors, first-aid kits, thermometers, and braces are all eligible for reimbursement.
To make the most of your flexible spending account before the year ends, evaluate where you’ve spent your money during the previous months. Neglected to get an eye exam? Need a new pair of glasses? Estimate how much money is in your account, and get to work taking advantage of those funds! You’ll definitely appreciate the savings once you get the bills for all of the holiday shopping you did!