Monday, December 05, 2005

FSA deadline... and gross money saving tip!

Uh-oh, I think I may have missed my company's deadline to sign up for a 2006 Flexible Spending Account. I'm trying to decide how upset I am about this! On the one hand, I'd like to do anything possible to lower my taxable income. On the other hand, I'd like to think I won't get sick this year, and thus would not be putting much into the account anyway. After all, I already have a couple of pairs of prescription sunglasses and I don't want to keep having to buy more every time I have FSA money left over!
But then there is the nagging fear that I might need some expensive dental work... don't you love it when your dentist tells you that a filling "looks okay for now, but that tooth could crack at any time... or it might be fine for years, you never know..."
So what do I do, put a lot of money in the FSA and if I haven't spent it by November or December, just start eating a lot of peanut brittle and Milk Duds to accelerate the inevitable?
If I can still sign up, I think I'll just put in enough to cover the usual co-pays for routine exams, and a little extra for good measure. I'm not even taking any prescription medications any more, so I can't factor those in. And hey, I will share the secret that has allowed me to save over $100 a year on medications! I will caution you not to read on if you're eating lunch right now, but here is the tip:

If you suffer from sinus problems and frequent colds, you might be able to save a lot of money by using a relatively inexpensive over the counter product: Simply Saline. Don't use Ocean Spray or any of its generic imitators, as they contain preservatives which some studies suggest can actually make sinus problems worse. Simply Saline is exactly what you'd think-- just saline solution with nothing else in it. Basically, you just squirt it up your nose with your head tilted sideways so it runs through your sinuses and out the other side, flushing all the yucky germy irritants and congestion away. In the past, I've taken all kinds of pills, had allergy tests and even had my head CAT-scanned. But for maybe $5 a month, this spray has helped me more than anything.

We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming, in which the contents of my nostrils will not be discussed whatsoever. Thank you for your patience.


vr6trd said...

My FSA enrollment period just began. I don't have any children so I was wondering if this was any benefit to myself. Can I use the funds to pay my hospital co-payment? How about making over the counter purchases?


Madame X said...

Neo, you can definitely use it for yourself. (I believe childcare spending accounts are separate from healthcare spending accounts usually.)
You can use it for co-pays for doctors and dentists, prescription medicines, prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, and over the counter medicines, and even things like vitamins.

Caitlin said...

OMG my mother has been singing the praises of the saline stuff for a couple of months. and by "singing the praises", I pretty much mean "badgering me to do it" ;) I am intrigued...but ever since I was about 6 and got seawater all up my nose at the nude beach (I was small, the wave was not), I've been averse to liquids near my sinuses.

But I bet I would have avoided the cold that just kicked my ass for a week and counting. Sigh.