Everyday Essentials You Can Buy With an FSA

So many choices


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So many choices

Use It or Lose It

If your employer offers a flexible spending account, you can save money by setting aside pretax dollars for health-related expenses such as copays, deductibles, and dental care. You elect how much to contribute ($100 to $2,850 for the 2022 tax year) — but you have to spend it all, or risk losing it at the end of the year. Americans who have put off routine health visits and procedures during the pandemic may have leftover money in their FSAs that will go to waste if unused. Although it depends on the company, the standard deadline is Dec. 31, and the maximum that can be rolled over into 2023 is $571. The good news is that the federal government has made more items eligible for purchase with FSA money in recent years. Here are some often-overlooked essentials and useful "extras" you can buy with that use-it-or-lose-it cash.

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Online Purchases

You can buy FSA-eligible items in a variety of places, from doctors', optometrists', and dentists' offices to medical supply outlets, local pharmacies, and certain big-box stores, among other merchants. But has it occurred to you to use your FSA card online? FSA Store sells only eligible items, including prepackaged bundles for everything from baby care to back-to-school, and lets buyers use their FSA debit cards directly. (The site also has a detailed list of eligibility requirements for a host of common items, as well as products and services that are not covered.) Amazon has an FSA/HSA storefront and accepts the cards for payment.

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Menstrual hygiene products including cup, pads and tampon

Menstrual Products

The addition of menstrual products to the list of FSA-eligible items was another game changer. Using pretax dollars to pay for tampons, pads, menstrual cups, and even "period panties" can save people with FSA accounts at least one huge monthly headache during cash-strapped times. 

Related: 11 Things That Cost More for Women (or Men)

bag with gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer

Disposable Masks

Doing your part to help check the spread of COVID-19 and even flu comes with health savings attached. While face coverings used to require a letter of medical necessity to be bought with flex dollars, the IRS lifted that requirement amid the pandemic. Now masks, hand sanitizer, and other forms of personal protective equipment are officially on the FSA-approved list and can be purchased direct from the FSA Store.

Air purifier

Air Purifiers and Inhalers

If you're thinking about buying an air purifier, you should know that you'll need a letter of medical necessity to use FSA money; usually only asthmatics or people with severe allergies are considered eligible. So, be sure to have your paperwork in order, especially before purchasing a more expensive model such as an ever-popular Dyson. For a simple, non-prescription device designed to help you breathe easier during cold and flu season, consider a personal steam inhaler.

Pulse Oximeter

Diagnostic Tools and COVID-Monitoring Must-Haves

Many products meant to monitor health at home are fully covered for flex spending, from blood pressure cuffs to thyroid test kits. To keep an eye out for potential coronavirus symptoms, you can invest in some "virus preparedness" supplies. Use FSA dollars to upgrade to a digital thermometer, an ear thermometer, or an infrared forehead thermometer for a quick and contactless reading. You can also pick up a pulse oximeter to monitor blood oxygen saturation levels. And, after the government stopped mailing out COVID tests for free, you may want to use FSA funds to guarantee there's always one on hand. You can find a ready supply of FDA-authorized COVID test kits on Amazon.


Diabetes Supplies

While insurance plans often cover the costs of basic diabetic-care devices, FSA funds can come in handy if you're paying for blood-sugar testing kits and other supplies on your own. Aside from glucose monitors, lancets, and test strips, pretax dollars can be used to buy insulin pen needles, alcohol swabs, and handy accessories, such as this convenient insulated carrying case with gel packs to keep supplies safe on the go. None of these items need prescriptions for purchase.

First aid kit and supplies with simple background for display and example
Kristin Mitchell/istockphoto
Blackhead vacuum remover or pore cleaner is home beauty and skin care device for facial cleaning. Tender white flowers Eustoma on pastel yellow background
Julia Lavrinenko/istockphoto

Acne Treatments

If you have acne-prone skin, you know that the cost of dermatologist visits and skin-care products can quickly add up. You can find relief for your skin and for your wallet by using FSA funds to pay for many of the items that make up your daily facial regimen. You might even want to try out an at-home acne light therapy treatment device. Many users say they've seen very positive results, and studies suggest that the devices can also help with a variety of dermatological issues, including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.

Young african american girl using sunscreen lotion at the beach.


Preventing sun damage is part of protecting your overall health. Buy whatever sunscreen you want to toss in your beach bag next summer using pretax dollars. You can go with inexpensive-but-effective sunscreen or splurge on the good stuff. 


Glasses and Contacts

If you wear contact lenses, you're familiar with how costly they can be. Fortunately, contact lenses, drops, saline solution — even glasses — are all FSA-eligible items. You can order a backup for those pesky, always-missing readers today.

Safe Sex  Colorful Condoms
Pregnancy Tests

Pregnancy Tests

Finding out if you're going to be a parent is an emotional and sometimes costly process. Lighten some of the financial burden with your FSA account. Ovulation testing kits are also approved.

Beaitiful young pregnant woman holds vitamins pills and glass od water in her hand at home
Gorica Poturak/istockphoto

Prenatal Vitamins

Pregnant and nursing women know how important it is to take proper vitamins. FSA Store and Amazon carry a multitude of brands. While you're at it, pick up some breastfeeding supplies such as nursing pads, nipple shields, or even a breast pump (if your insurance won't cover the one you want). All are eligible expenses.



Have you always wanted to try alternative medicine? Using your before-tax bank is a sound way to pay for it, since most insurance plans don't cover the treatments. To find an acupuncturist near you, check the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.

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