21 useful health products to buy so your FSA dollars don't go to waste

Noelle Ike, CNN Underscored
Updated Mon February 11, 2019

If a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is part of your benefits plan, you're going to want to make sure you're spending those pretax dollars before before they disappear. That's why we've rounded up a quick and easy list of products available in the FSA Store, which offers a large selection of guaranteed eligible products.

If you're not sure exactly what an FSA is and why it's important that you spend your pretax dollars, we've got you covered with a quick guide.

What is an FSA?

A health flexible spending account (FSA) is part of the benefits plan that certain employees receive. The plan lets you use pretax dollars on eligible health care expenses for you, your spouse and any eligible dependents.

How does it work?

With each paycheck you receive, a certain amount of money is put aside before taxes. This pretax money is for FSA spending, and is meant to be used on eligible health care expenses throughout the year. While the specific amount differs depending on your tax bracket, there are calculators available to help you estimate your savings amount. In a nutshell, an FSA helps you save money on out-of-pocket health expenses, since you're spending pretax dollars.

Why do I have to spend my FSA dollars before a certain date?

While storing money in a FSA account can be a great way to save on necessary products, you'll have to spend it in order to reap the benefits. Most FSA participants are part of a "use it or lose it" plan, which states that all the money left in your account by the end of the year must be forfeited. The unused amount left in your account can't be paid out to you in any other way, and you can't transfer money to any other FSA. So its important to keep in mind of the December 31 and March 15 annual cut off date.

The good news is that many employers provide a grace period of up to two and a half months into the new year for you to use the money in your account. But you'll want to check with your employer, because some grace periods can be even shorter.

What can I purchase with my FSA dollars?

Common purchases include everyday health care products like bandages, thermometers and glasses. Everything from medical expenses that aren't covered by a health plan (like deductibles and co-pays to dependent day care) and over-the-counter medication can also be eligible.

The downside is that the specifics of what you can spend your FSA dollars on depend on the plan your employer has in place. The upside? You can skip the extensive research by shopping at the FSA Store. The site guarantees all products are FSA eligible, or your money back. And if you have questions, it has representatives available 24/7 to chat with. With over 4,000 items, you can simply browse, add to cart and not worry about letting your FSA dollars go to waste.

Note: The prices below reflect the listed retailers' prices at the time of publication.

A collection of travel-sized sun care products, just in time for summer vacations (fsastore; $67.99)

An orthopedic neck pillow to keep you comfy during upcoming flights (fsastore.com; $32.99)

This vanilla peppermint scented, antioxidant-powered lip balm (fsastore.com; $12)

A thermal-aid your kiddos will love (fsastore.com; $19.99)

A light therapy kit that produces heat in order to stimulate blood circulation, relieve swelling and loosen muscles (fsastore.com; $199)

An assortment of Supergoop! sun care products that comes with a cute tote perfect for travel or a beach weekend (fsastore.com; $45)

A value pack of bandages so you're prepared for any scratch, cut or nick (fsastore.com; $12.99)

This light therapy acne mask that uses blue light to target acne-causing bacteria and red light to reduce inflammation (fsastore.com; $39.99)

A device that will help you from grinding your teeth while you sleep (fsastore.com; $39.99)

Pain relief orthotics from Dr. Scholl's to make your shoes more comfortable (fsastore.com; $13.99)

A hand-held steam inhaler that aims to provide relief from a range of ailments, from allergies to colds, coughs, laryngitis and more (fsastore.com; $154.99)

A smarter way to help relieve back, shoulder and neck pain (fsastore; $34.99)

This sleek, wireless blood pressure monitor (fsastore.com; $99.99)

A speed read thermometer that claims to provide an accurate reading in only eight seconds (fsastore.com; $12.99)

This freezer-safe reusable cold pack (fsastore.com; $14.99)

A nasal irrigator to keep your system clean and relieve congestion caused by anything from the flu to allergies (fsastore.com; $89.99)

A 35-piece first aid kit perfect for camping trips (fsastore.com; $9.99)

Water resistant sunscreen that protects your skin while you're in the pool or ocean (fsastore; $18.99)

Compression socks to help ease swelling in your feet and ankles (fsastore.com; $42.95)

A light therapy system to help enhance gum health and reduce inflammation or sores in your mouth (fsastore.com; $99)