Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Making the Most of Flex

We realized in late October that we were running long on our medical and dental flexible spending account. What a blessing to have a year where we didn't need to take our children to the doctor other than for a yearly wellness check! We are blessed also with generally good health with no ongoing expenses for continual prescriptions and medical supplies. But if you know us, we hate to have money lost in an account like this just because we didn't have events which required the use of this money. After gathering and submitting all receipts we could think of we still had a bit more than $100 left.

So I read up on the qualifying expenses for this account and headed out to Target on New Year's Eve to see if I could make use of these funds. Most over-the-counter medications and vitamins are surprisingly not covered. As I was checking out I had the cashier confirm that each item was noted on the receipt as a health item. I ended up with $82 of first aid items (perfect for restocking our first aid kits), a night guard and some orthotics for my bad feet. Since I still wasn't sure if these purchases would qualify, I put the bags away in the closet and had my husband submit the receipts by fax. Then in the event it didn't go through, I could still return the merchandise since the items were not urgent needs. Thankfully these purchases did qualify under our plan so we were able to use up most of what was left in our account for the year. I know I could have gotten closer to the exact dollar amount if I would have added it up more carefully and gotten more for my money if I would have had coupons, chosen the Target brand, etc., but at that point, on the last possible purchase day, in a very busy store with three young children in tow, I was more than satisified with my effort and the outcome.


elementaryfinance said...

I really enjoyed reading your article. Just today, I finished an article on my blog explaining Flexible Spending Accounts and the amont of money that can be saved as a result. Take a look and post your link to this article if you would like.

Melinda said...

That is awesome! We have an FSA too and it gives us a credit card to use throughout the year so no reimbursement hassles. If you use it at Walgreens, it automatically verifies if your purchase is valid and then you don't have to send in a receipt to prove it qualifies. We ended up with a lot of medical/dental expenses last year and ran out of our money around June. That was terrible. So we upped our account to the max this year and if we have some leftover come Dec. Ben will get his eyes lasered or I will get my varicose veins lasered. Or we will make a Walgreens run and stock up on essentials for next year.

Mom2Drew said...

That's a lot of savings and supplies, awesome! We ended up with a little left on our FSA too, so thanks for the tips. need to enter my contest, I know you and the kids will enjoy the prize.