Smart Ways to Spend the Last of Your Flexible Spending Account Money

As the year winds down, now is the time to figure out how much money you have left in your flexible spending account. In most cases it's use it or lose it!


A flexible spending account (FSA) is an employer-sponsored account that will allow users to put away money for medical expenses (up to $2,650 of pre-tax dollars in 2018). These dollars are specifically designated for health expenses that can fall outside of your typical health insurance coverage. While you must use the majority of those funds by the end of the year, you can carry over $500 of unused FSA bucks into the next year but will forfeit any excess at the end of the year. (In some cases you are able to file an extension to get an additional two months.) Also, remember to keep your receipts in order to be able to be reimbursed. Here are 32 more things your tax accountant doesn’t want to tell you (but everyone should know).

Here are some of the qualified medical expenses your FSA may cover:

  • Over-the-counter products: While you cannot spend your FSA on over-the-counter meds without a prescription you can use it for items such as bandages, athletic braces, breast pumps, crutches, canes, first aid kits, flu shots, and reading glasses. Sadly, vitamins are only covered if they are prescription.
  • Pain management: If you are considering alternative treatments for dealing with pain and relaxation, FSA covers acupuncture and chiropractic care. Some plans may also pay for massages.
  • Family planning: Though your preferred birth control may not be covered many are, plus FSA also pays for condoms, fertility monitors, and fertility treatments.
  • Vision care: You can use your FSA money to cover the cost of your glasses, contact lens, contact lens solution, laser surgery, and LASIK.
  • Dental visits: Now might be the time to pop in to your dentist and have a cleaning because your deductible is covered as well as implants and sealants.
  • Co-pays: FSA covers co-pay on prescription medications and doctor, dental, and vision visits.
  • Medical devices: Blood pressure monitors, ovulation, pregnancy, and glucose kits make the grade as well so now might be the time to buy them.

Here are some of the medical expenses not currently covered with FSA:

  • Your cost to have health insurance coverage.
  • Long term care coverage and expenses.
  • Anything that is covered by a secondary health care plan.

Popular Videos

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest