Next week is the last full week of December.
The nation takes a cup of cheer and stocks up on presents, laughs and joy for the coming year.
In the middle of it all, there is the underlying sense that life still has to keep moving forward apart from the holidays. The dog still needs to be walked. The laundry still needs to get folded. The car still needs to have an oil change.
Weaving through the holidays, the regular schedule continues around us.
One of the regularly scheduled items many of us face? Using up benefits. (Or maximizing benefits, as my father would say).
If you have insurance and an employer-provided benefit that expires at the end of the year, you’ll be feeling the pressure from both sides.
Need to use up your FSA money?
One of the most common employer-provided benefits is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). If you have an FSA, you know it’s a use-or-lose account and the “lose” time frame is approaching. (If your company set the plan up to end on December 31).
Here are 7 easy (but practical) ways to use up your FSA money in 7 days.
Day 1: Negotiate your health care bills.
If you still have outstanding out-of-pocket costs from this year, you may be able to pay some of them with your FSA. Read our article on how to negotiate your healthcare bills.
Day 2: Refill your prescriptions.
Many pharmacies accept a call-ahead for prescriptions. If you can call in the morning and pick up the prescription in the afternoon, the two-step process is worth it. It will allow you to avoid worrying about your prescription running out.
Day 3: Clean the specks off your specs.
A glasses wipe doesn’t seem very thrilling. But if you receive one for Christmas like I did, you’ll be impressed.
Although not regarded as terribly trendy, the reliability of the tool to clear away fingerprint smudges and snowflake streaks is undeniable. You can find classic versions and cute versions online. Splurge and buy the most expensive one you can find. After all, you are trying to use up your money. Frugality be darned.
Day 4: Upgrade your viewing options.
We aren’t talking about a new cable TV plan. (Although you might be doing that right now, too). We just mean buying those new glasses you’ve been thinking about.
Not only will you look stylish and sophisticated for all those holiday parties, but you will give yourself more options.
Not a glasses person? No worries. After picking up the customary champagne for New Year’s, stop in to the drug store for contact lens solution and a case. If you end up staying at a friends’ after the ball drops, you won’t get stuck sleeping in your contacts.
Day 5: Prep for your vacation.
Jetting away from the cold winter weather? We like the way you think.
Before you leave, pack these travel essentials into your suitcase. You could easily blow through $100 right there.
Day 6: Brace yourself.
If you took the advice in our last blog, you know to be careful when things get icy. But if you still have an accident despite your best attempts, rest assured that ankle and wrist braces are FSA eligible.
Day 7: Tackle those resolutions early.
Planning on going to the gym the first week of January? Go you!
Buy some heat wraps to have on hand when you get home from your first workout. Look for ThermaCare® and other brands. Pay with your FSA card at check-out. (Or submit a claim for reimbursement if you do not have a card).
How will you use up your FSA money?
The holidays are about family, friends and FSAs.
However you decide to use up your FSA money this year, we hope the spend down process is less stressful than Christmas shopping.
Didn’t see anything on this list that fit your needs? Shop the FSA Store and treat yourself to a last-minute Christmas gift.