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Creative Ways to Spend Your FSA Balance Before the End of the Year

Creative Ways to Spend Your FSA Balance Before the End of the Year

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are governed by the Internal Revenue Service’s use-it-or-lose-it rule, meaning any unused funds in your account at the end of the year may be forfeited. It’s estimated that $1 billion of unused medical FSA funds will be forfeited this year alone. That’s a lot of unused money!

You can always use your funds on optical checkups, annual bloodwork, and prescriptions, but there are many other eligible items and services you may not know about. If you have an FSA balance that’s expiring soon, check out these creative ways to use it up rather than letting it go to waste.

Restock Your Medicine Cabinet

Do you use over-the-counter nasal spray or eye drops? Is the cough medicine in the cupboard expired? There are hundreds of common household items that qualify as FSA-eligible items. If you’re curious about eligible products, check out the FSA-eligible Amazon store and stock up for the upcoming year.

All of these OTC products (and more!) are FSA-eligible:

  • Allergy medication, nasal sprays, and eye drops
  • Pain management drugs like Ibuprofen® and aspirin
  • Ointments and prescription-strength skincare
  • Cough, cold, and flu medication
  • Bandages, mobility aids, shoe inserts, and other injury care products
  • Menstrual products including period-proof underwear

FSA Amazon Store

Restock Your Travel Kit & Summer Items

Many common travel and outdoor expenses like first-aid kits, sunscreen and bug spray can be purchased using your FSA account dollars. (Note: For sunscreen to qualify, it must be SPF 30 or higher.) Some of our dermatologist's favorite sunscreen brands are EltaMD®, Supergoop! ®, and SunBum®.

FSA Eligible Sunscreen & Skincare

Be Proactive with an Activity Tracker

If you’re striving to lose weight or treat another medical condition through daily exercise, you might be eligible to purchase a fitness tracker with your FSA funds—provided your doctor writes a letter of medical necessity. Fitbit® is one of the leading fitness tracker brands available today, and its high-tech wearable devices track data such as your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and breathing rates.

Explore Fitness Trackers

Get a 23andMe® Genetic Test

Genetic testing kits like this one offer insights into your ancestry, but they can also test your DNA for certain health indicators, providing information on your chances of developing certain health conditions. For these reasons, the IRS ruled that 23andMe® Health + Ancestry Service can be purchased using FSA funds. Because it’s a fairly new ruling, you may want to check with your FSA administrator for details on eligibility, but it’s a great way to spend extra money that might otherwise go to waste.

23andme Genetic Test

Prevent Allergies with an Air Purifier

People with severe or persistent allergies may be able to use their FSA funds to purchase an air purifier to help improve indoor air quality. Note that this purchase requires note from your doctor, so consult with your PCP or ENT provider first.

Top Rated Air Purifiers

Check out the “Surprisingly Eligible” FSA Storefront

The FSA Store makes it easy to explore eligible products with their “Surprisingly Eligible” section. You may opt to splurge on a heated deep massage gun, an acne red light therapy device, or a new weighted heating pad.

Surprisingly Eligible FSA Products


Keep in mind that some FSA-eligible items require a note from your doctor, such as air purifiers and activity trackers.

Want to know if your prescriptions are FSA-eligible? Here’s an approved list of FSA drugs that can be purchased using your remaining balance.

Your FSA may have a grace period or the ability to rollover some money into next year. Check with your employer to see if you can roll over any portion of your FSA into next year.