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

Flickr/401(K) 2012
  • An estimated $US400 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 $US2,650 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 $US500, 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 $US400 million collectively, use your pre-tax money to stock up on things you need for the coming year. Here are 50 things under $US40 the IRS says you can buy, and five surprising things you can’t.

Lip balm with SPF $US2.99No prescription needed

Corn removers $US3.79Prescription required

Sunscreen for babies $US4.29No prescription needed

Contact lens solution $US4.29No prescription needed

Visine $US4.89Prescription required

Disposable nursing pads $US4.99No prescription needed

Icy Hot $US5.99Prescription required

Neosporin $US6.49Prescription required

Decongestant spray $US6.49Prescription required

Aquaphor $US6.57Prescription required

Children’s Benadryl $US6.65Prescription required

Cold sore treatment $US6.99Prescription required

Band-Aids $US6.99No prescription needed

Facial cleanser $US6.99Prescription required

Soothing gel with aloe $US7.49Prescription required

Earwax removal kit $US7.49Prescription required

Antifungal spray $US7.89Prescription required

wheelchair seatbelt $US7.99No prescription needed

Denture cleaner $US7.99No prescription needed

Heat wraps $US8.99No prescription needed

Relaxation Mask $US8.99No prescription needed

Motion sickness band $US8.99No prescription needed

Page magnifier $US8.99No prescription needed

Gold Bond body powder $US9.47Prescription required

After Bite $US9.51Prescription required

Lice killing shampoo $US9.99Prescription required

Hearing Aid Batteries $US9.99No prescription needed

Foot Roller $US9.99No prescription needed

Midol $US9.99Prescription required

Reading glasses $US9.99No prescription needed

Yeast symptom relief $US10.05Prescription required

Healing skin lotion $US10.59Prescription required

Sleep aids $US10.99Prescription required

Sunscreen $US11.49No prescription needed

Gummy prenatal vitamins $US12.99No prescription needed

Biofreeze Spray $US13.99Prescription required

Laxatives $US14.99Prescription required

Non-latex Condoms $US15.49No prescription needed

Bedtime underwear $US15.99No prescription needed

Foot tissue relaxer $US15.99No prescription needed

Snotsucking kit $US19.99No prescription needed

Nicotine patch $US24.67Prescription required

Children’s Claritin $US24.99Prescription required

Screening test for breast milk $US24.99No prescription needed

Light therapy acne treatment $US29No prescription needed

Acupressure mat $US29.99No prescription needed

Neck support pillow $US32.99No prescription needed

Pee-proof underwear $US37No prescription needed

Compression socks $US37.99No prescription needed

Light therapy acne treatment mask $US39.99No 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.

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.


Source: FSA Store

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.