Flexible spending accounts usually don't allow for rollover. Here's how to use up any leftover funds before they expire.
According to the Employment Benefits Research Institute, 33 to 38 million Americans have a flexible spending account (FSA), and nearly 10% of account holders leave about $172 lingering in their accounts at the end of the year. While some employers offer either a short grace period or limited amount you can carry over (but never both), many employers don't, leaving employees with "use it or lose it" funds.
The key to getting the most out of your leftover FSA dollars is to first stock up on what you need -- such as over-the-counter pain relievers and sunscreen -- and then using the rest to treat yourself to something you might not ordinarily buy. In this article, you'll find a mix of FSA-eligible necessities and goodies worth spending those extra funds on.
Read more: How to shop at Amazon with your FSA card
You might think that a small amount of money isn't worth scavenging products over. Not so fast! Plenty of FSA-eligible items under $50 can satisfy multiple needs and wants.
You really can't go wrong with spending extra FSA money on a first-aid kit. Many, like this Adventure First Aid Family Kit, come with over-the-counter pain relievers -- a loophole to the prescription-only rule that applies to OTC drugs.
You can never go wrong with SPF. Stock up on sunscreen for now (you can still get sunburned in the winter) or later.
If you struggle with recurrent headaches, this acupressure band can bring some medicine-free relief by activating the L14 trigger point in your hand.
These single-use heat wraps offer up to eight hours of heat therapy and up to 16 blissful pain-free hours. Designed to relieve pain from post-workout muscle soreness, arthritis, muscle spasms and more, these Thermacare wraps are thin enough to wear underneath clothes for discreet pain relief.
If your New Year's resolution is to finally quit smoking, you should know that smoking cessation aids are usually FSA-eligible, like these Harmless Cigarette 30-day Quit Kits.
One impactful way to spend your remaining FSA funds is on a 23andMe test, which offers more than 125 insights about your genetics, health, wellness and ancestry. You can use up to $117 on a 23andMe test, per the company.
Experts believe red light therapy to expedite your body's healing process and encourage healthy tissue growth. It's often used to treat inflammation-related conditions like arthritis. So if you experience aches and pains in your feet, step into these slippers for some relief.
Laser therapy for acne may help keep your skin smooth and clear. This handheld device uses low-level blue and red light to kill acne-causing bacteria without harming your skin, and it comes with protective goggles for your eyes.
Everyone can benefit from occasionally monitoring their blood pressure at home, especially if you don't go to your doctor for regular checkups. This Caring Mill wrist blood pressure monitor is FSA-eligible -- check with your employer about the many others on the market.
If you prefer cold therapy over heat therapy, this wearable cold pack from Hyperice (the same company that makes the Hypervolt massage gun and vibrating massage ball) is worthy of your FSA dollars.
If you have a few hundred dollars lying around in your FSA, you can purchase some great items that you might not necessarily splurge on with your paycheck.
If you've been trying to get pregnant but have trouble keeping track of your ovulation cycle, consider using any leftover FSA money to purchase the Ava Fertility Tracker, a wearable that claims to double your chances of conceiving by tracking five physiological signs of fertility.
For drug-free relief from chronic pain, check out BioWaveGo, a wearable electrotherapy machine that is designed to block pain signals from reaching your brain.
If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, protect your digestion with the Nima Gluten Sensor, which detects gluten in foods. You can also get the Nima peanut sensor for $289.
Breastfeeding? Pump anywhere with this hands-free, electric pump from Elvie. It's worn inside a standard nursing bra and requires no cords or tubes.