Spend your Flex Spending Account on new gear!
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Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Spend your Flex Spending Account on new gear! on 12/29/2011 23:33:22 MST Print View

If you've got money left in your medical Flex Spending Account, remember you can still buy first aid kits/supplies with it!

Thanks to Obamas last-minute changes to allowable flex spending account purchases and a daughter who got braces later in the year than expected, I over-funded my FSA by $1300 or so. Don't want to lose it. Gotta spend it!

I just dropped $600 at www.drugstore.com on 2 family-sized first aid kits, new first aid kits for all the cars, some hiking first aid kits for the kiddos, five S.O.L survival kits (they're classified as first aid kits?), some Sam Splints, and a whole ton of other misc. medical/first-aid supplies. I figure I'll donate some of this to local Boy Scout troops and other non-profits, and use some as give-aways in my high adventure classes.

Now I'm looking at www.FSAstore.com for more goodies. If anyone else has any other resources or suggestions on how to spend some more of this, I'm all ears!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Spend your Flex Spending Account on new gear! on 12/30/2011 00:03:52 MST Print View

If you know a friendly doc (I live with one), you could get prescriptions for small quantities of helpful prescription drugs for extended trips. We did that (had one of her partners write the scrip to be totally up and up) for a 16-day, 12-person Grand Canyon trip. My old edition of Medicine for Mountaineers had a suggested list of drugs for an expedition. It has to be a doctor who trusts your judgement and you have to present yourself as being able to use them carefully and appropriately. And don't even ask about morphine. We got some, but had two MDs on the trip, not only BPer types. Besides, my wife hiked out of Nepal for two days with a bad break on only Advil so you can too.

And, if there's any over-the-counter meds you ever use - get them now, I guess. Small quantities are helpful to have backpacking, but I'm thinking the 1000-pill bottles at Walmart or Costco. Must drugs are much more stable than their "shelf life" implies, otherwise, they'd keep them all in the fridge. Just keep them in a cool, dry place.

Going a little off-thread here, but it's a GREAT TRICK: Let's say you're on a flight at 33,000 feet and someone needs a drug - nitroglycerin, valium, benadryl, etc. Those other 150 people on the plane are a walking pharmacy! Just have the flight attendent ask on the PA and you shall receive. People DO NOT want that flight diverted! The same is often true on the trail. Don't tell people your solution "Do you know where a pharmacy is?" Tell them your problem: e.g. "My child has hives." I crushed half a benadryl, put it in strawberry yogurt and had instant Children's Benadryl for them.

Back on thread now: prescription glasses count, right? So perscription sunglasses would too, maybe? I bet the optomitrist wouldn't mind getting paid early. Or prescription swim goggles? I just a set for $69 on eBay because we're going to Hawaii in March. Get some for everyone in the family. Use the "buy-it-now" option so you'll have spent it in 2011.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Spend your Flex Spending Account on new gear! on 12/30/2011 00:14:11 MST Print View

More ideas: Pulseoximeters are cool to play with, especially at elevation. They're even useful to diagnose some conditions as well as to assess your acclimitaztion to altitude. They've come down a lot - used to be $400 at REI and aviation vendors, but now they're on eBay.

That new blood clotting powder stuff really works on bad trauma - proved throughly in Irag. But it's getting mainstreamed so fast, I'd expect it to get cheaper all the time - it's just a bunch of clay.

A really good stethescope isn't cheap - many hundreds of dollars, but unless you get really good with it, you might as well just get a student nurse's version for $50 or so.

Carbon Monoxide monitors for your home? Not required by code, yet, but a very good idea. Inflating life jackets for your water sports? SPOT, PLB or EPIRB?

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Re: Re: Spend your Flex Spending Account on new gear! on 12/30/2011 00:28:28 MST Print View

>> And, if there's any over-the-counter meds you ever use - get them now, I guess.

That's one of the things that wasn't allowed in 2011. Unfortunately, that law was changed AFTER most people had already locked in their FSA contributions (thanks again, knee-jerk Washington). So all the OTC stuff my kids normally go through had to come out of pocket, or I had to take them to a doctor for every sniffly nose, cut, rash, etc.

>> That new blood clotting powder stuff really works on bad trauma - proved throughly in Irag. But it's getting mainstreamed so fast, I'd expect it to get cheaper all the time - it's just a bunch of clay.

It's definitely affordable now. I picked up a couple packs of QuickClot to try it out. As "use-it-or-lose-it" money, I don't mind buying a couple extras for teaching my boys how to use it. Unfortunately, these boys boys give me ample opportunity to demonstrate and practice first aid on a regular basis.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
money left on 12/30/2011 07:31:41 MST Print View

If I ever end up with too much, we just get new prescription glasses or sunglasses. Eats up hundreds of dollars quick.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Spend your Flex Spending Account on new gear! on 12/30/2011 08:23:32 MST Print View

Yep, I overfunded in 2010 because we thought the birth of Baby #2 would cost more so at the end of the year both the husband and I had new glasses and he had new glacier sunglasses. If you buy quality glasses you can chew right through hundred of dollars quickly!!

And hey, one can always get the heck scraped out of their teeth last minute....lol!

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Spend your Flex Spending Account on new gear! on 12/30/2011 09:05:32 MST Print View

It became such a pain to get reimbused, I didn't even fund my FSA this year.

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
don't forget on 12/30/2011 09:50:42 MST Print View

Sun screen

Joshua S
(joshualee101) - F - M
RE: Spend your Flex Spending Account on new gear! on 12/30/2011 10:42:02 MST Print View

I have purchased green superfeet insoles and gotten reimbursed using my FSA account.
I bought them through allegromedical.com

Edited by joshualee101 on 12/30/2011 10:48:54 MST.

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Thanks for the suggerstions on 12/30/2011 11:29:12 MST Print View

>> If I ever end up with too much, we just get new prescription glasses or sunglasses. Eats up hundreds of dollars quick.

Thankfully, most of the family doesn't need them. I got LASIK 7 years ago. Best money I've ever spent. I have one daughter with a light prescription. She goes through glasses quickly, so she could certainly use a couple extra pair.

>> And hey, one can always get the heck scraped out of their teeth last minute....lol!

Did that!

>> It became such a pain to get reimbursed, I didn't even fund my FSA this year.

That's the truth! Every other month they shut off my card because I didn't get the right receipts submitted.

>> Sun screen

Good call! Just got 6 bottles of varying types, lip balm, and some other sun protection goodies.

>> I have purchased green superfeet insoles and gotten reimbursed using my FSA account.

I know you can buy insoles, but I've never used them and I have no idea what to look for or how to fit them. Suggestions?

Thanks again, everyone!

Ken