Monday, November 8, 2010

Flex spending

Help me spend my flex spending!
 
I signed up to have $900 withheld from my paycheck for 2010 for my flexible spending account. I anticipated some dental work (yet another root canal and crown) plus my standard copays for regular office visits and prescriptions.
 
Well, it turns out this whole flossing thing works, and I didn't need the dental work after all. Due to my Life Event in September, I was able to cancel the flex spending contributions for the rest of the year, but that means that I put away $712.50 into this use-it-or-lose-it pre-tax account, and I really only needed about $200 of flex spending money.
 
What do I do now?
 
I have stocked up twice on every OTC medication I can think of using before it expires (after this year, OTC medication will no longer be covered, so it's nice to be able to stock up, but on the other hand, medications have an expiration date so there's no point going too crazy). I've stocked up on things like band-aids, Ace wraps, and other non-medication supplies. I spent more than $100 each time. I've purchased sunscreen. I've made two visits to the dentist. I've made my annual visit to my doctor, and have purchased all the birth control I'll need until next year.
 
I still have $300 to spend. In less than two months.  !!!!
 
I made an appointment with a dermatologist to have a mole removed, so that will use up $25 for the copay. I am pretty sure the procedure itself will be covered in full. But how else do I spend this money? I do not want it to just be absorbed by whoever gets it if I don't use it -- it's MY money and I worked for it. The thing that makes this so sticky is that the rules (laws, even) are very clear about what the money can be used for, including WHO it came be used for (IE, it has to be used for me and my dependents -- I can't just go buy a bunch of OTC medications and give them away).
 
Has anyone had a similar situation? How did you use up extra flex spending money?
 
 

8 comments:

  1. Contacts use up a fair amount of mine, but since you had lasik, I guess that's probably not applicable.

    I would see if I could get my doctor to recommend custom orthotics (I suspect I'd benefit from them, but I use OTC currently).

    This is going to be a weird suggestion, but maybe a psychiatrist, if you feel you could benefit at all. I'd rather do that than have the money go to total waste!

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  2. I would ask my doctor to refer me for massage therapy for "stress" (don't get a referral for "pain" because it will pop up later in any review of your file for various things, e.g. car accident, law suits, etc.)

    Does anyone in your family grind their teeth at night? Maybe get a mouth guard? Mine cost me around $300 (luckily insurance covered that).

    As for giving away OTC meds - who's to know that you gave them away?

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  3. I bought some sexy new eyeglasses and sunglasses. Used it right up! Good luck. I have a comprehensive list I can send you if you need one, but it sounds like you know most of what's covered. How about holiday gifts for friends and family? Nothing says "I love you" like a box of Advil :)

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  4. Yeah, contacts and glasses don't apply to me anymore, and non-prescription sunglasses aren't covered (boo!).

    I do know someone who was audited because of the amount of OTC products they bought, so I am not interested in fudging things to use the money up on things for other people. It wouldn't be financially savvy to have to pay fees, fines, and taxes in an attempt to save a few bucks!

    And I was in therapy for two years recently -- I don't feel like I need a "tune-up" so to speak, and fitting appointments into my schedule would be stressful right about now.

    Thanks for the ideas, keep 'em coming!

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  5. What about a professional teeth whitening? I want one so bad haha

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  6. I've been thinking about this too, as I just had to decide how much to put in my flex plan for next year. I was going to say teeth whitening; I'm pretty sure that's covered...so is accupuncture, which could be fun to try even if it's just for stress relief and not pain. Also you could visit a chiropractor (I think?). They do consultations and massage.

    However you might end up owing more to that dermatologist than just the copay. Or maybe he/she can suggest an additional procedure while you're there.

    Other ideas might be a vaccine or some tests you might not otherwise get (HIV, other STDs, thyroid test, other blood work). You could call your physician and ask for a recommendation. I'm sure they can think of a way to help you burn that dough!

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  7. Mail-order a 3 month supply of any prescriptions - useful for birth control and allergy medications!

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Thanks for commenting!