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Lifestyle: 50 things you can buy with your FSA dollars before they expire — and 5 surprising things you can’t


You can actually use the money you've contributed to your FSA to buy certain healthcare products that the IRS has deemed eligible.

  • An estimated $400 million in FSA funds was forfeited last year.
  • You can actually use the money you've contributed to your FSA to buy certain healthcare products the IRS has deemed eligible.
  • However, there are certain things like bug spray and tampons that you can't buy pre-tax.

For 2018 employees were allowed to put up to $2,650 in their FSA account, according to the IRS. These funds are use-it-or-lose-it. The IRS has allowed some employers to give their employees the chance to participate in a carryover option, which allows the rollover of up to $500, or a grace period option, which gives users two and a half months to finish up their dollars — but not both.

If you're not at a company that lets you push the deadline, there's still time to use up what's left in your account on things you actually use and will probably buy anyway. Think bandages, sunscreen, and baby wipes. You can even use it to pay for your prescriptions. The IRS decides which items are eligible and which ones aren't based on what they're each used for.

Rather than joining millions of Americans who forfeit an estimated $400 million collectively, use your pre-tax money to stock up on things you need for the coming year. Here are 50 things under $40 the IRS says you can buy, and five surprising things you can't.

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Lip balm with SPF $2.99 No prescription needed

Corn removers $3.79 Prescription required

Sunscreen for babies $4.29 No prescription needed

Contact lens solution $4.29 No prescription needed

Visine $4.89 Prescription required

Disposable nursing pads $4.99 No prescription needed

Icy Hot $5.99 Prescription required

Neosporin $6.49 Prescription required

Decongestant spray $6.49 Prescription required

Aquaphor $6.57 Prescription required

Children's Benadryl $6.65 Prescription required

Cold sore treatment $6.99 Prescription required

Band-Aids $6.99 No prescription needed

Facial cleanser $6.99 Prescription required

Soothing gel with aloe $7.49 Prescription required

Earwax removal kit $7.49 Prescription required

Antifungal spray $7.89 Prescription required

wheelchair seatbelt $7.99 No prescription needed

Denture cleaner $7.99 No prescription needed

Heat wraps $8.99 No prescription needed

Relaxation Mask $8.99 No prescription needed

Motion sickness band $8.99 No prescription needed

Page magnifier $8.99 No prescription needed

Gold Bond body powder $9.47 Prescription required

After Bite $9.51 Prescription required

Lice killing shampoo $9.99 Prescription required

Hearing Aid Batteries $9.99 No prescription needed

Foot Roller $9.99 No prescription needed

Midol $9.99 Prescription required

Reading glasses $9.99 No prescription needed

Yeast symptom relief $10.05 Prescription required

Healing skin lotion $10.59 Prescription required

Sleep aids $10.99 Prescription required

Sunscreen $11.49 No prescription needed

Gummy prenatal vitamins $12.99 No prescription needed

Biofreeze Spray $13.99 Prescription required

Laxatives $14.99 Prescription required

Non-latex Condoms $15.49 No prescription needed

Bedtime underwear $15.99 No prescription needed

Foot tissue relaxer $15.99 No prescription needed

Snotsucking kit $19.99 No prescription needed

Nicotine patch $24.67 Prescription required

Children's Claritin $24.99 Prescription required

Screening test for breast milk $24.99 No prescription needed

Light therapy acne treatment $29 No prescription needed

Acupressure mat $29.99 No prescription needed

Neck support pillow $32.99 No prescription needed

Pee-proof underwear $37 No prescription needed

Compression socks $37.99 No prescription needed

Light therapy acne treatment mask $39.99 No prescription needed

You can find some sunscreens with insect repellent agents in them, but you can't use your FSA dollars to buy bug spray by itself. It's currently considered a general health product, but with the rise of isect borne illnesses like the Zika virus, it may become eligible in the future.

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Source: FSA Store

Multivitamins and other dietary supplements like them are considered general health items as well since they "do not directly treat a legitimate medical condition."

Source: FSA Store

Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss are all general health products. While you can use FSA dollars for orthodontic or denture care, you can't use them for your everyday dental hygiene needs.

Source: FSA Store

Tampons are not currently FSA eligible because they're not considered necessary by the IRS. The debate on menstrual equity is in full swing and has been heavily debated across different levels of policymakers — The Fund Essential Menstruation Products Act was introduced in 2016 and may help speed up the process one day, but we're not there yet.

Source: FSA Store

Different health monitors — blood pressure devices and stethoscopes — are eligible for FSA spending, but your wearable monitor is not. Although your Fitbit or other tracking tech can be used to monitor similar metrics, the IRS hasn't yet given it the stamp of approval — but that's not to say it won't get there eventually.

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Source: FSA Store


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