The entire self-care industry seems to have been given a bad rap lately, with people encouraging us to spend outrageous money on things like gold face masks, weekly massages (that aren't medically necessary), or going on shopping sprees all in the effort to "treat yourself."
Alright, perhaps I'm being a bit pessimistic here, but self-care to me has always been a daily practice, in which I take care of my mental and physical health -- not a luxury "day out." It's an absolute necessity because without either of those things, I don't feel as ready to be there for work and my family.
However, if you're like me, you may feel a little bit of guilt spending time and money on yourself. One way that may help is to look at money you can set aside specifically for self-care through a flexible spending account. If you are questioning if an FSA is worth it, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover all that this plan has to offer in terms of healthcare.
Take your flexible spending account for example. Even with the best of intentions, sometimes you'll have FSA dollars sitting in the account for that plan year that you need to use up or else it'll be lost forever. In this case, why not look for FSA-eligible self-care products that will help you treat medical conditions?
Personally, I like to keep a wish list of FSA items purchases for such occasions. Here are just a few of the qualified expense items I'd love to buy if I had FSA funds I really needed to use up by the end of the plan year.
Remote-powered foot circulator
I'm a sucker for tools that relax stiff muscles. With a young kid to take care of and standing on my feet most days when I'm attending conferences, my legs get sore real fast.
I'd love to get this remote-powered foot circulator so I can just turn it on, sit back and relax while eliminating my pain. The eligible product claims to help increase blood circulation and reduces swollen feet too, which sounds awesome if I need to get up the next day and face another hectic work schedule. And it's FSA eligible!
Full-on migraine relief
Loud noises and bright lights tend to give me headaches, and unfortunately my son's toys seem to be the noisiest and brightest when I'm the most stressed. I'd love to find a drug-free solution to headaches so I can lie back and just let go. Thanks to my FSA plan, I can.
This eligible item looks pretty neat since you get a head and eye wrap and can be used hot or cold, which is lovely because it really depends on what kind of headache or migraine you have, therefore affecting what you need. In my case, this product qualifies as a useful FSA eligible expense because of my specific medical condition, which can inhibit my ability to perform daily activities.
Acupressure mat set (don't forget the pillow)
I'm a total sucker for anything purple and alternative medicine. My grandfather was actually a traditional Chinese doctor so when I saw this mat, it was totally up my alley. The idea is that you lay on this mat that uses acupressure points to relieve pain. I want to purchase it using my FSA card because I tend to have a lot of neck and shoulder pain. In terms of FSA eligible products, this is an applicable product for so many, including myself.
Next-level lip balm
SPF lip balm is something I love because it offers that level of protection -- something I definitely need since my family spends a ton of time outdoors. But it also looks pretty good, too! FSA-reimbursement approved, this tinted lip balm offers a few colors to choose from -- but I'm digging on the one called "Summer Crush" right now.
From the looks of it, it's also got SPF 30 and a bunch of non-toxic ingredients, so it's good for your health and the environment.
Here's my dream FSA wish list, at a glance...
Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA money for bigger things, our weekly Real Money column will help you maximize your flex spending dollars. Look for it every Tuesday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.