Eligibility

7 New Period Products on the Market

Dealing with that time of the month is emotionally taxing enough without having to worry about whether you have enough product to last you the entire cycle or shouldering the cost of buying new menstrual products. While it may seem like the costs aren't that big of a deal — it's only a couple of bucks a month right? — feminine hygiene products are about a $23 billion global industry and are expected to keep growing. There's also evidence that women will spend around $18,000 over their lifetime on these products alone (Huff Post), which is no small number.

Let's not forget both the emotional and physical labor involved with having to purchase items and cleaning stained items. All this to say, it's a lot of work (and money) to take proper care of your feminine health.

The good news is that there are new period products on the market that can help. Many of them will help you save money, cut down on waste and make dealing with periods a bit easier. Let's explore a few of the newest period products on the market.

Washable Menstrual Pads

Instead of buying disposable pads, those made of organic materials such as cotton or bamboo that you can use over and over again are a great alternative. They look exactly like what you've come to know as a winged pad, except they're made of reusable fabric that snaps around your underwear.

As you do your search you'll find there are different designs, some with various adsorbent layers and others where you can add in inserts and swap them out. All of them should be machine washable, though there are many that recommend that you hand wash them to lengthen their lifespan. Then, simply hang them to dry.

There may be a bigger upfront cost when purchasing this type of period product but you should be able to save money over the long term since reusable pads tend to last for around five years. Plus, they're better for the environment, which is a win in our books.

Reusable Menstrual Cups

Think of menstrual cups as an alternative to tampons — one that offers less risk of toxic shock syndrome (if at all). They are also cheaper — you're spending $30 upfront for one instead of buying multiple boxes of tampons. If you're still wondering what is a menstrual cup, these items are usually made with medical-grade silicone or other safe products so you can rest assured you're not inserting anything into your body that's potentially harmful.

Basically, you insert a menstrual cup much like you would with a tampon, but there is a different technique to it. To be honest, it might take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy to see why they've become popular. Aside from the cost and it's eco-friendly benefits, you can leave a menstrual cup in for longer than a tampon.

Menstrual Discs

A menstrual disc is very similar to a menstrual cup except the shape is a bit different. It also holds a lot more fluid so you can keep it in for up to 12 hours and still get some form of protection. These discs are made with BPA, latex or phthalates and are meant to be thrown away when done.

Some women contend that menstrual discs are more comfortable than a menstrual cup, but they can be messier to remove. That might be something to keep in mind if you're nervous about getting blood on your hands.

Organic Cotton Tampons

If you're feeling iffy about menstrual cups, discs and pads, you can still be eco-friendly and purchase organic products. That's where organic tampons and pads like Cora come in. They're disposable but are made of 100% cotton and are compostable, biodegradable and vegan. In other words, they have a lower environmental impact than more conventional disposable menstrual products.

Period Underwear

What are period panties? They're exactly what you think they are — underwear designed to be worn during your menstrual cycle. Instead of wearing regular underwear and using a menstrual cup or pad, you simply wear these and it'll prevent you from staining your clothes. It can be a much more comfortable option, since absorbent material is already built into the garment itself.

When shopping around, you'll find lots of different designs (some of them are quite cute!) and absorbency. Product descriptions should tell you how absorbent they are, like how many tampons the material holds. Keep in mind that period panties tend to be a bit more expensive than some of the options mentioned above, particularly if you decide to only use this product exclusively.

Period Tracking Jewelry

Interested in tracking your menstrual cycle so you know when to experience mood or energy changes, and even when your period will come? There are plenty of apps but period tracking jewelry helps you track data automatically. Think of it much like you would a fitness tracker you wear like a watch, but it's specifically for period-related stats.

Ones like Bellabeat track the reproductive cycle, stress levels and more. You can wear the accessory as a clip, bracelet or necklace — the smart technology will sync with an app so you can check your different stats. You can even get reminders such as when you need to take your birth control pill. Unfortunately, these products are not currently FSA-eligible.

Heating Pads

Ask most women what the most pressing challenge is when it comes to their menstrual cycle, and they will say it is dealing with cramps. Sure, you can take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen but there is a medicine-free way to relieve symptoms.


Enter heating pads. No, these aren't the bulky microwavable ones you typically see — many of these are small disposable warmers you can stick on your belly to get some relief. If you prefer something that's more eco-friendly, there are reusable pads. These are very similar to a TENS machine which uses pulse therapy to alleviate pain. Some of these are even portable and discreet so you can hide them under your clothes.

How Do I Choose The Right Period Product?

The truth is, picking the right one will depend on your preferences and budget. Many of the new reusable menstrual products can save you money over the long-term, but you may need to pay a bunch upfront. Besides, given different aspects to think about such as size and brand, it could mean you're paying more until you find the right one.

For example, period panties are pretty straightforward as far as decision making goes, but menstrual cups will differ depending on the size and other design factors such as the cup shape and handle. The good news is that there are plenty of online resources (including quizzes) available to help you get it right the first time.

Whichever product you decide to try out, don't forget that many of these products are FSA-approved, so you can purchase them with your tax-free funds, saving you a little bit of cash in the process.

Thanks for visiting the FSA Learning Center! To stay on top of all FSA news that can affect your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Sarah Li-Cain

Sarah Li-Cain is a finance writer and a AFC (Accredited Financial Counselor) candidate whose work has appeared in places like Bankrate, Business Insider, Redbook, Financial Planning Association, Investopedia and International Business Times. She's also the host of Beyond The Dollar, a show where her and her guests have deep and honest conversations about how money affects their well-being. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, she can be found spending time at the beach with her family when she's not working.

Living Well

New Over the Counter Allergy Medicines to Consider

Whether you've been a long-time allergy sufferer or just started experiencing symptoms, finding new allergy medicine might be able to help you find some much needed relief. Not to say there's anything wrong with what you're currently using, but it's probably confusing walking down the aisle of your local drugstore (or when you're shopping online) trying to figure out what's what.

Of course you don't want to get the wrong type of medication and not find any relief at all. So if you're looking for new allergy medicine, let's first take a look at the types of over the counter allergy medicine you can find, and which may be best for you.

One Caveat

Before you whip out your FSA card and buy everything in sight, it's crucial that you consult your doctor before starting on a new allergy medication regimen. You never know how your body will react or whether your doctor can prescribe something that'll be more effective.


For example, maybe you're already on medication from a pre-existing condition and you're unsure whether it's safe to take allergy medicine. In this case, it's best to talk to your doctor who will know your medical condition and what medications may be troublesome for treatment — especially those with severe allergies or those with an intolerance to certain foods (example: peanut allergy). It's always better to be safe than sorry!

Types of Allergy Medications

When you're trying to figure out which type of allergy meds medication work best, know that there are lots of them. We're talking about eye drops, inhalers, liquids, nasal sprays, pills and skin creams. These OTC allergy medicines treat allergy symptoms that occur from dust mites, pollen, an intense allergy season, and other common daily allergy triggers. Many of these are available over the counter and are FSA-eligible, though it's best to double check with your provider.

Here are some common types of allergy medications you don't need a prescription or allergy testing for according to the Mayo Clinic.

Antihistamines

This type of meditation blocks histamine, which is a chemical that's released by your immune system when you have an allergic reaction. Histamine production is what can cause allergy symptoms.

Antihistamines are available both by prescription from an allergist and over the counter. Pills, liquids and nasal sprays can help to ease allergic symptoms such as itchy or runny nose, sneezing, postnasal drip and sinus congestion. Some of the side effects include feeling tired, drowsiness and a bitter taste.

There are also antihistamine eye drops to help you find relief from red, itchy swollen eyes. Though you won't experience drowsiness or tiredness like the kinds mentioned above, you might get dry eyes and headaches.

Decongestants

You can use decongestants for fast and temporary relief for sinus and nasal congestion. Both pills, drops and sprays are available and some medication has a combination of both antihistamines and decongestants. However, if you have cardiovascular disease, glaucoma, high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism, then it's typically not recommended.

If you're using nasal decongestant drops and sprays, make sure not to use them for a prolonged period of time — most medications recommend no more than three consecutive days. Otherwise, your symptoms could get worse.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are used in pills, liquids, nasal sprays and eye drops. It's also used in inhalers — you'll need a prescription for it though. Pills and liquids are used to treat severe allergic reactions. However, there are a large number of serious side effects such as worsening high blood pressure, muscle weakness, increased blood sugar, cataracts and stomach ulcers.

Nasal sprays are for relieving allergic reactions that cause a runny nose, stuffiness and sneezing — side effects include nosebleeds, nasal irritation and an unpleasant taste. Eye drops are to help relieve itchy, watery or red eyes if you've exhausted all other options. However, this type of eye drop needs to be used carefully because of the risks involved.

Are There Any New Over The Counter Allergy Medicines?

There are some relatively new antihistamine medications but let's take a look at a common over the counter one: Benadryl. It's been around for quite a while but it's short-acting and can make you tired — not a good side effect if you're at work or need to drive soon after.

Instead, newer products such as Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec offer relief for a longer period of time — we're talking about anywhere from 24 hours up to three days depending on the brand. Plus, it won't make you feel drowsy. So if you're debating between Benadryl versus Claritin for example, you'll want to think about whether you need long- or short-term relief, plus if you're going to need your full concentration within the next few hours.

The newest product on the block is Xyzal, which is similar to Zyrtec. It's an over the counter drug that offers relief for up to 24 hours. It also is not supposed to cause drowsiness, though you may experience side effects differently. Since this new antihistamine isn't that much different compared to ones like Claritin and Allegra, test each one's side effects and effectiveness to see which one works best for you. (GoodRx)

If you're looking for relief in one specific area, consider nasal sprays or eye drops. That way you can target that specific area. One of the most common and newest nasal sprays is Afrin. This over the counter nasal spray works immediately to block your allergic reaction. Keep in mind you'll want to use the right technique or it won't be as effective — aim for the side of your nose. You may even want to check with your doctor to see if you're using it correctly. (Flonase)

Remember, the more you use nasal sprays, the worse your symptoms could get. You could become even more congested because of the rebound effect, plus you can develop additional side effects such as raising your blood pressure.

As for eye drops, common over the counter ones like Visine are a good and affordable option — there may be new products but you'll most likely need a prescription. Visine's allergy eye drops help to relieve redness and itchy eyes by constricting the eye's blood vessels. Again, like nasal sprays, don't use it too often or your eyes could become "used" to it. As in you'll end up with red eyes even more and even headaches in some cases. (Drugs.com)

Which Allergy Medicine is Best For Me?

There's no one size fits all solution to allergy medication, even if you're considering the newer ones. The most effective way to see which allergy medicine is best is to simply try them out. You can try an over the counter medication for a month or so to determine whether it'll help relieve your symptoms effectively. If not, or it gets worse, it might be time to go to a doctor. Same goes for if you have a medical condition or you're concerned about the side effects in general.

The truth is, a doctor will be able to best tell you which is best given your state of health and how it'll interact with other medications you may be taking. In some cases, it could be that you need a prescription medicine or alternatives like allergy shots. However, most doctors will probably recommend over the counter methods first before opting for stronger treatment choices.

No matter what, trying over a period of time to see what kind of allergy relief will work best for you is totally worth it.


Thanks for visiting the FSA Learning Center! To stay on top of all FSA news that can affect your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Sarah Li-Cain

Sarah Li-Cain is a finance writer and a AFC (Accredited Financial Counselor) candidate whose work has appeared in places like Bankrate, Business Insider, Redbook, Financial Planning Association, Investopedia and International Business Times. She's also the host of Beyond The Dollar, a show where her and her guests have deep and honest conversations about how money affects their well-being. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, she can be found spending time at the beach with her family when she's not working.

Living Well

Why your allergy medicine is not working

Allergies are no one's idea of a good time — thank goodness for over-the-counter (OTC) solutions. However, if it seems like lately that your usual remedies aren't working, you're not alone. According to Allergies in America, a national survey, 37% of those surveyed said as allergy sufferers, they have to switch up their nasal allergy medicine at least once every few years because they're no longer effective.

We understand it's frustrating figuring out why your allergy medicine isn't working. To find a possible solution, let's take a look at why this might be happening to you.

Is it Possible To Build Up Resistance to Allergy Medication?

The short answer is probably not. It's relatively uncommon to develop a resistance to antihistamines or decongestants, medications used to relieve allergies. Over the counter steroidal nasal sprays like Flonase and Nasacort — typically used for runny noses and nasal congestion — helps to suppress your allergic responses and the body's production of histamines or other proteins, but you won't develop a resistance to them.

However, some OTC allergy medicine nasal decongestant sprays may make your symptoms worse the longer you use them. What happens is you may experience rebound congestion, which is a fancy way of saying that your nasal linings will swell if you use it for more than three or four days — this swelling has nothing to do with your original or seasonal allergies allergy itself, rather it's the nasal spray.

As for antihistamines, you probably won't build up resistance with this type of drug, but your usual allergy meds may not be working because you've developed a tolerance to them — it'll seem like the medication is losing effective over prolonged use.

All this to say: chances are, it's not your body's resistance to medication, it may be another underlying cause it's not ridding you of your allergic reaction.

Reasons Your Allergy Medicine is Not Working

There are myriad reasons why allergy medicine becomes less effective over time. Below are a few reasons why — but it's best to consult a doctor if these issues or the allergy triggers persist!

You Moved

While moving down the street isn't exactly a cause for concern, it can be for your allergies. Depending on the change in environment — think living in a relative sparse suburb to an urban neighborhood with lots of construction — your allergies may get worse, making it seem like your usual round of allergy medicine is not working.

Another reason could even be that you're used to living in a small apartment and now that you have a yard with beautiful foliage, the proximity to nature means your allergy flares up more often, requiring you to reassess your medication. And don't forget internal allergens - dust, mold and other substances that weren't present in your last abode may be triggering your allergies in your new place.

You're Outside a Lot More

Seasonal changes are a common culprit for allergy flare ups, even more so than usual during the summer months. Warmer temperatures and air pollution which typically happens during the spring and summer could mean you need to either take more allergy medication or find another solution for allergy relief.

Let's not forget all the outdoor activities you're probably partaking in once the weather is warmer. Long hikes in the forest or mountains are wonderful, but maybe not for your nasal passages. Or you're looking forward to swimming in your neighbor's pool, but prolonged exposure to chlorine could result in skin reactions. .

Warmer weather also means an increase in the pollen counts, which can be exacerbated by pollution and humidity. Of course, this depends on where you live, but if you find your allergy medicine is not as effective as it once was before, environmental factors may be playing an important role.

You Keep Forgetting to Take Your Medicine

Not taking your allergy medication consistently is one of the most common reasons why it's not working. Whether you forgot to take them or stopped taking them when your allergy symptoms have subsided, inconsistent dosage does more harm than good. The point is that you need to take it daily so the medicine is in your system. That way, your immune defences will not immediately react to allergens that are present.

One of the ways to help you remember to take your allergy medication is to pair it with another routine activity you do, such as brushing your teeth. You can even set an alarm or a reminder on your phone as another way to ensure you don't forget.

You're Not Taking The Medicine Properly

While most allergy medicine is fairly foolproof — taking the correct amount of pills seems easy enough — even a small mistake can render your allergy medication ineffective. For example, inhalers that aren't activated or used properly can mean the difference between being able to breathe easily or dealing with a stuffy nose. Same for nasal sprays, especially when sprayed at an incorrect angle.

You're Stressed

Yup, stress can send your allergic response through the roof by increasing your sensitivity to allergens (so does age, by the way). It's even worse if each year you're exposed to the same allergens. What this means is that the medication (or dosage) you've been taking when you were not as stressed or younger is no longer effective.

You've Developed New Allergies

Your current allergies are technically under control, but your allergy symptoms aren't. What this usually means is that you're acquired a new allergy — this can be common as you get older. In other words, your current allergy medicine isn't effective (or working at all) because it isn't taking them into consideration.

You Got a Wrong Diagnosis

If you're a relatively new allergy sufferer, going to a doctor is a great way to figure out what's ailing you and getting an effective solution. That is, assuming you've gotten a correct diagnosis.

We're not suggesting you switch to another doctor — sometimes symptoms and causes can overlap, it may not be easy to figure out what's what.

Of course, you could be someone who hates going to the doctor and decides to self diagnose your sinus headaches or allergies — you may not always get it spot on. Maybe you've mistaken a sinus infection for an allergy or you have a tension headache and it has nothing to do with allergy season.

Unfortunately, if you get a wrong diagnosis, your current treatment is wrong. It's crucial you consult a doctor as many times as you need to get to the root of what is causing your ailment.

You're Taking Other Medication

Sometimes it's not even your fault. Rather, it's your other medication. If you're treating another condition with medication, that could be the culprit. For example, some medicine can worsen sinus conditions, therefore making allergy medication ineffective. Or others could mean you get dry eye, leaving your eyes more watery than before.

Perhaps you are not diagnosed with a medical condition and it has limited your options for treatment. Your doctor might need to ask to swap out an allergy medication that worked to a new one that isn't as great. Even worse, the new one you have gives you certain side effects which makes your allergy symptoms flare up even more.

Whatever, the case, managing your allergy symptoms effectively requires constant trial and error — it may not be as simple as taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Maybe you need to take medication and make some lifestyle changes such as altering your diet or cleaning your home more often.

That's where a doctor you trust can be helpful: this person can help you look at your specific needs and then prescribe a treatment that's geared towards your individual needs. Relief may not happen overnight, but taking that first step to meet with your doctor to begin a treatment plan could pay off in the long run.

The fix: Treatment isn't a one-size-fits-all case. Doctors have to look at each individual's case and focus treatment accordingly, and finding the right treatment may take some tinkering.

Allergy patients often have to use a multi-pronged approach for treating their allergies. It is not always easy and doesn't often happen overnight, but relief can be found.

"People have to get proper care by a specialist [and] have good communication and proper compliance," Zitt says. "It should be a team effort between the physician and patient, with honesty and a willingness to work together. All of these will increase the likelihood for success."

Thanks for visiting the FSA Learning Center! We'll keep you posted on all the FSA changes that may be coming in the foreseeable future, so be sure to to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.


Sarah Li-Cain

Sarah Li-Cain is a finance writer and a AFC (Accredited Financial Counselor) candidate whose work has appeared in places like Bankrate, Business Insider, Redbook, Financial Planning Association, Investopedia and International Business Times. She's also the host of Beyond The Dollar, a show where her and her guests have deep and honest conversations about how money affects their well-being. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, she can be found spending time at the beach with her family when she's not working.

Basics

Real Money: Just how strict is the 12/31 FSA deadline?

Just take a look around FSAstore.com and you'll notice that we're racing toward the year-end FSA deadline. And there's a good reason -- a LOT of people have their deadlines fall on the end of the calendar year. It's an exciting time around here (and for anyone getting great deals on FSA-eligible products) but it doesn't apply to all FSA holders.

So, the first thing you need to do is contact your FSA administrator, to be 100% sure of your deadline, and your options. If you do have the 12/31 deadline, it's technically pretty strict, but that doesn't mean you have to submit all your claims by the end of the year.

If you have a 12/31 deadline, there are two other dates in 2020 you need to be aware of — March 15 and March 31. These are both deadlines that may apply to you to but they're drastically different in terms of the last date you can spend your FSA funds.

Confused? Not to worry, we've got you covered.

Which deadline do you have?

As I mentioned before, there are two separate deadlines. The grace period for December 31 plans ends on March 15, while the run out period typically ends on March 31

The runout period is the time you can submit to get your FSA funds reimbursed for the previous plan year. For example, you have $300 left in your FSA in 2019 and are waiting on invoices. If your plan offers the runout period, then you likely have until March 31, 2020 to submit the receipts for the $300 or else you risk losing the money.

On the other hand, the grace period typically ends on March 15 on the following year. This is where your FSA provider gives you time to purchase new products or services before you need to forfeit your money. That $300 in your FSA funds for this year can be used up until March 15, 2020. It can include money you spend on qualified expenses anywhere between January 1 and March 15, 2019.

Your FSA provider may also give you a rollover option — and it means just that -- you can roll over up to $500 into your 2020 FSA budget. Keep in mind that your plan will only offer either the grace period or rollover options (you can't have both), they can be combined with the runout, and they may offer none of them. Your employer's plan is not obligated to offer any additional extensions for people with a year-end deadline, so again -- check with your administrator before assuming anything.

(If you still have questions, we have a fantastic guide that decodes these terms so you know exactly where you stand.)

Now I know… so what now?

No matter what your plan's rules are, it's still a good idea to comb through your 2019 expenses to see if you've already made claims on them. Hopefully, you've been keeping track of receipts and invoices for this very reason.

If you have the runout period, now's the time to make sure you spend the rest of the FSA funds before December 31. You still have time to submit receipts until the cut off date.

If you have the runout, make sure you budget accordingly so that you can use up the funds. Let's say you still have $200 left to spend and your FSA providers allows you to spend those funds until March 15, 2020. Make a budget now to see what qualified medical expenses you can make so that you're prepared.

With the rollover option, think about your expenses for the year and if you will have more than $500 remaining at plan year-end, make sure you spend it down.. Does this mean you'll need to change your contribution amount for 2020? Or are there upcoming expenses you have you didn't before?

Planning ahead will help you with budgeting and making sure you use your FSA funds the right way. It's worth taking the time to do it, because the savings are usually pretty significant.

Use it... don't lose it!


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Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA 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.

Basics

Flex-Ed: Getting to know enrollment periods, cutoff dates and qualifying life events

When you decide to contribute to a FSA, whatever you select as your contribution amount stays the same throughout the year. That means if you change your mind, there really is no going back. In other words, it's crucial that you budget carefully so that you'll be able to use up the amount you put into your FSA or else you'll risk forfeiting the cash.

But there are exceptions to the rule. If you experience what's known as a qualifying life event, your employer may let make changes to your FSA. This includes changes in marital status, employment and the birth of a child.

What if these qualifying life events happen after you make your FSA elections? The short answer is that you should be able to make changes during what's known as a special enrollment period.

What is a special enrollment period?

A special enrollment period is a set amount of time outside of the open enrollment period (which is typically around November 1 to December 15) where you can make changes to your health plan, including your FSA contributions.

You can only take advantage of a special enrollment period if you have a qualifying event or experience a complex issue and if your plan allows for the change. If eligible, you'll typically have 30 to 60 days from the date of the special circumstance or qualifying life event to make changes to your FSA. It's best to check with your FSA provider for the specifics.

How do I know what my cutoff date is?

Let's say you've been contributing about $150 a month towards your FSA for you and your spouse's medical expenses. Unfortunately, you both decide to break things off and begin the paperwork in November of this year and your divorce won't be finalized until January 12, 2019. This counts as a qualifying life event, so you qualify for the special enrollment 60 day from the date you finalized the divorce.

Another common qualifying event is if you become a parent or gain a new dependent. You adopted a child and the adoption date as defined by the course is February 12, 2019. You may be able to increase your FSA contributions and \make changes 30-60 days from that date. Or, your child turns 27 halfway through next year and you want to decrease your FSA contributions, you have 30-60 days from your child's 27th birthday.

There may be some exceptions to the cutoff date, such as when it comes to the dependent care FSA (DCFSA). For example, the DCFSA is only for certain expenses for dependents 12 and under. If your child turns 13 halfway through 2019, you may be able to make changes 30 days from their 13th birthday.

Significant changes in dependent care could also qualify for the special enrollment period. If you switch daycare providers, there was a significant price change or both parents aren't employed (or a student) anymore, you may be able to increase, decrease or stop your DCFSA contributions (consistent with the qualifying event).

As mentioned earlier, your FSA provider may not allow you to make changes outside of the enrollment period or their cutoff dates differ than what we've indicated. Your best bet is to contact your provider and explain your specific situation to find out what your options are.

Everyday needs


What are these "complex issues" you speak of?

Healthcare.gov mentions there are a few special cases in which you may be able to change your FSA plan. If you went through a natural disaster or serious medical condition that prevented you from enrolling - like an earthquake or unexpected major surgery - you may be able to petition to make changes.

When my husband and I signed up for a DCFSA when he switched jobs, the system had a major glitch and had it so that $1,650 would be deducted from each paycheck instead of $300. When we saw the paperwork, we were able to change it even though we were well past the open enrollment period.

Of course, all of the above are hypothetical scenarios and may not apply to you. It's always a good idea to call your FSA administrator before or as soon as any any qualifying event or special circumstances so that you can make any necessary changes within the cutoff date.

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New to FSAs? Need a refresher course in all things flex spending? Our weekly Flex-Ed column gives you a weekly dose of FSA Living 101, offering tips for making the most of your tax-free funds. Look for it every Thursday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center.

Living Well

Real Money: Taking stock of your family's health during American Diabetes Month

Tired of Halloween candy yet? Well, as you probably know, the dietary challenges are just beginning for many people around the country. Now that the holiday season is upon us, you may be wondering about how your waistline is going to handle all the food. As tempting it is to eat gobs of food and lay around on the couch, this behavior could have far reaching consequences: your child might copy you.

You're probably thinking what's wrong with indulging. And there isn't really anything wrong with indulging unless you do this all the time. Since young children tend to be impressionable though, thinking that it's okay to overeat - and unhealthy food on top of that - means there could be a risk for some pretty serious health issues long term if your children learn bad habits at a young age.

Are you serious?

Considering 1 in 7 youth between 6 and 17 years old are considered overweight, yes. Of course, having a little extra baby fat isn't a major concern, but if this is a result of unhealthy habits, then the chances of those children being susceptible to diseases increases.

So yes, laying around and eating junk food can have far-reaching consequences, especially when maintaining a poor diet and lack of physical activity become a habit. These consequences include increased risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Children who are overweight could also suffer from low self-esteem and are more likely to be hospitalized than children who have a healthy weight.

What's more, overweight children are more likely to become adults who are overweight, potentially leading to diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Who knew that the candy might be the scariest part of Halloween?

Before we start an unnecessary panic, know that we're not saying the occasional treat is a problem. Kids are kids, and it's okay for them (or anyone) to overindulge once in awhile. It's when the candy and sweets become a regular part of a person's diet that the problems start to surface.

What can I do?

I'm not a doctor, but I am a parent. And for me the simple answer is to encourage more physical activity into your child's daily routine as well as eating healthier diet. The reality is that it can be much harder to implement.

Instead of implementing a lot of things all at once, start small - in your home. As a family, you can all talk about what being healthy means and the benefits of that could look like. For example, it could mean being able to walk for a whole day around the zoo, or feeling less tired during the day. The important thing is to discuss this as an entire family so that everyone is more more motivated to make changes.

Something else to consider is to change your immediate environment. What this mean is setting visual cues to implement a healthy habit or eliminating vices from your home. For example, if you want your child to eat a better diet, start by eliminating sugary and highly processed foods from your pantry. It could also mean turning meal times into a fun event by teaching your child to cook using simple recipes so he or she understands what goes into each dish.

Also start small when it comes to implementing a better physical regimen. You and your family won't stick to something it means hours of strenuous activity - it's probably not a good idea to start off by signing everyone up for a half-marathon. Instead, start with simple stretches or walking to run errands instead of driving all the time.

No matter how you plan in integrating a healthier lifestyle, you want to make sure it works for you and your family. Again, we're not doctors, and don't mean to offer medical advice -- always check with a medical professional before making any diet and lifestyle changes. Making sure you get (FSA-eligible) preventive screenings with your doctor once a year so if there are potential issues, you can address them before it's too late.

Diabetes essentials

One Touch Ultra 2 Blood Glucose Monitoring System

Results are delivered in just 5 seconds.and it's easy to manage around meals.

$28.99

Kendal Sharps Container

Fits into present blood drawing trays for the efficient disposal of needles.

$3.99


Accounts

Asked and Answered: What are voluntary benefits?

Often overlooked, voluntary benefits can be a fantastic addition to a primary healthcare plan. They can help you with different aspects of your life like covering your living expenses, lost wages and other types of much-needed health insurance.

While employer coverage doesn't always account for these extra benefits (you may need to cover 100% of the costs) there is the benefit of a group rate through your employer. In other words, many of these voluntary benefits come at a steep discount. (And we like those.)

Just because your employer may offer many options, doesn't mean you need to choose all of them. It also doesn't mean you need to ignore them, either. With so much uncertainty - whether it's the current job landscape or even other health concerns - it may be a good idea to look into these options.

Read on to find out some of the most popular ones employers offer, what it may cover and who it's best for.

Critical illness

This type of insurance can be a great addition to your regular health insurance premium. It'll give you a lump sum amount if you end up being diagnosed with a critical illness covered in your plan - including but not limited to end-stage renal failure, coronary artery bypass surgery, a heart attack, stroke and even a major organ transplant.

The idea behind this type of insurance is that even though you may already have a comprehensive plan, expensive treatments like the ones mentioned above may still cripple your family or loved ones financially. The lump sum amount will be paid directly to you so it can be used where it's most needed.

Who this is best for is those who are younger (think millennials and ones in their prime working years), especially those with dependents. It's similar to term life insurance in that when a critical illness does happen, you get paid once. It is solely to help pay for expenses that your regular health plan won't cover.

Long-term disability

Long-term disability (LTD) insurance helps to cover costs in the event you cannot work anymore. What happens is that LTD insurance will replace part of your paycheck because of illness or accident - what that is depends on your individual policy. In essence what you're doing is insuring that you'll still receive a paycheck so that you can pay for regular expenses.

LTD insurance is best for those who may not have a lot of paid time or or other sources of income should that be needed to cover your expenses. Typically, this type of insurance is for those actively working and usually in places that aren't considered too risk by insurers.

Vision and dental insurance

Most employers typically offer some sort of vision and dental insurance plan, where it'll cover things such as eye exams, discounts on treatments (e.g. eye care accessories), teeth cleaning, crowns and dentures. These may be cheaper out of pocket or not - it totally depends on your current health situation.

For example, for those who are older and have a family history of eye diseases, having vision insurance could be a godsend. Or if you're young and have healthy teeth and gums, it may not make sense to get dental insurance if all you're doing is getting your teeth cleaned once a year.

These are just a handful of the available benefits being offered. Others can include accident, hospital indemnity and even identity theft insurance. No matter what you do, you'll want to take a careful look at your current situation and speak with a trusted professional about what you may or may not need.

Shop eye care

Bausch and Lomb Biotrue Multi Purpose Solution

Biotrue solution helps prevent certain tear proteins from denaturing for clean contact lenses and fights germs for healthy contact lens wear.

$21.99

Flents Wipe 'N Clear Pre-moistened XL Lens Wipes

Flents Wipe 'N Clear Pre Moistened Lens Wipes can be used for cleaning all types of eyewear, computer screens, and safety glasses.

$12.99


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From FSA basics to the most specific account details, in our weekly Asked and Answered column, our team gets to the bottom of your most-pressing flex spending questions. It appears every Wednesday, 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.

Basics

Real Money: Why I regret not researching my health care options more

As a self-proclaimed money nerd, I sure made a big financial mishap - not researching my health care options more carefully. By essentially hiding under a rock when it came to health insurance, I lost hundreds of dollars in the process. Worse, it could have cost me much more if my family and I had to visit the doctor more often last year. I don't even want to imagine what it'd be like if we had much higher medical expenses.

Using "overwhelmed" as an excuse

To be frank, I didn't really need to worry about health care options in the U.S. until about two years ago. As a Canadian living overseas, either the government took care of my basic needs or my employer overseas did. When my husband and I made the decision to move to the U.S. I felt overwhelmed at starting a new life in another country, transitioning into full-time self-employment and learning how to be a parent to a young child.

While each individual situation itself would have been stressful enough, the combination of all three sent my stress levels through the roof. Instead of listing out my priorities and figuring out what I needed to do (and in which order), I just picked the first health plan that looked decent.

I lost quite a bit of money

What I didn't realize was there were many opportunities to save on health care costs. Not only that, but on taxes as well. If I had know about the benefits of an HSA or FSA, I would have taken some time to budget more carefully and contributed to those accounts.

Lowering my taxable income would have been awesome, since I was spending money left and right moving to a new country. From rental deposits, to new furniture, to childcare options, it would have been great if I could have saved some money to pay for my health care expenses in the process.

If I had set aside money in an HSA, I could have lowered my taxable income, and paid less taxes. Those savings could have gone towards other things like stuffing my emergency fund and assorted moving expenses.

What's more, it wasn't until I moved again that I realized I could have opened a dependent care FSA. As someone who uses drop off daycare facilities and enrolled her son into part-time preschool, I could have opened that account (assuming my last health insurance plan allowed it), saved money on child care fees and lowered my taxable income.

While there is no point in shaming myself and living in total regret, I can take this as a lesson learned. Sure, I was stressed, but my health needs are equally as important. For the future, I'm going to do some careful research, way before open enrollment so I'm well prepared and informed of what I'm getting into when it comes to health care options.

This also includes taking stock of how I used my plan this year, what my long-term goals are with my funds (e.g. is it just for health care expenses or will it to help me with retirement purposes?) and what I can do to ensure that I am making the best choice for me, given my current life situation.

FSA-eligible must-haves

Supergoop! Splish Splash Kit

An FSAstore.com/HSAstore.com exclusive! All the SPF you need for living your best and brightest life.

Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor

The Owlet Smart Sock gently wraps around your baby's foot to track and trend their heart rate, oxygen levels and sleep using clinically-proven pulse oximetry.

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Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA 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.

Basics

Flex-Ed: How to fix mistakes with FSA funding and reimbursements

Mistakes are common. But when you make a mistake with your FSA reimbursements or funding, you need to be able to fix them ASAP, so you're not caught paying for them later. As in, you want to be sure that you're using your FSA correctly so that you're not required to pay your reimbursements back or stuck with money you can't use.

Sure, you can have the best-laid plans, but stuff happens. Instead, take a look at the following scenarios in case you made one of those mistakes, and what you can do about it.

Your receipts weren't clear

Just because you know what you spent your money on, doesn't mean your FSA administrator is clear on it. Yes, you have receipts backing up your purchase but that doesn't mean it automatically counts as solid proof.

Let's say you purchased got a prescription for a bunch of antibiotics at the pharmacy. You decided to submit the credit card receipt to your FSA provider. Unfortunately, that's not enough proof because the IRS requires you have an itemized receipt.

If your FSA administrator comes back to you and says your original receipt isn't acceptable proof, you should be able to resubmit. Now's the time to find that itemized receipt — whether it's your prescription with the price on it, or go back to the pharmacy if you need to and see if they'll print another one for you.

Otherwise, you can submit what's called an Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) that you'll receive in the mail from your health insurance provider -- basically, a fancy way of explaining a part of your transaction. What it needs to include is your name, date of purchase, the provider/retailer's name, price of the item, and the name of the item or service. Don't worry though - this is standard information to be included on all EOBs.

Even if you made the initial mistake, you can still fix it as long as you provide ample proof as quickly as possible.

You overallocated your FSA

Maybe you overestimated how much you'll need and you contributed a bunch of extra money to your FSA. Now you realize, you may not have enough qualified medical expenses to spend it all. The good news is that it's still your money. The bad news is that you're at risk of losing it of you don't take action.

Before assuming you don't have enough qualified medical expenses, make a list of things you may need. Perhaps it's time to replace your broken pair of glasses, or you're eyeing that foot circulator but were scared to make the purchase. Be strategic about what you want to purchase and make sure it's something you need, and you're not spending money just to spend it.

Something else to consider is looking into your FSA plan to see if there's a rollover option — typically up to $500 per year — or you may be able to take advantage of a Grace Period, if you have one, giving you extra time to spend down your funds. This way, you can still keep your cash longer without feeling like you have to buy things you don't need (which you shouldn't do, anyway).

Keep in mind that you won't have both the rollover and Grace Period option, and plans are not required to offer either so map out your purchases depending on what your plan offers.

You submitted an incorrect claim form or have no matching receipts

Don't freak out. If you submitted the wrong form, contact your FSA provider right away and see if you can resubmit. It's as simple as that. However, if you make a purchase and don't have a matching receipt, you may be able to substitute one from another qualified transaction.

Let's say you purchased prenatal vitamins and sunscreen and realized you don't have the receipt. Instead, you may be able to find another receipt for a qualified purchase to offset your original purchase. Maybe you buy additional sunscreen or more prenatal vitamins at a different store and submit that receipt, instead. Note that not all administrators will allow this, so you'll want to contact them to find out about your options.

In some cases you may not even need to submit a receipt, although we always advise that you keep them just in case. For example if you used your FSA debit card to make a payment and at a qualified merchant with the proper system in place, your expense may even be automatically approved without the need for documentation.

Mistakes happen to the best of us. The important thing is to recognize them when they happen, correct course and try not to let it happen again.

Buy with your FSA card!

Travel Essentials Bundle

All your basic needs while you're on-the-go.

Cara Lower Back Heating Pad

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New to FSAs? Need a refresher course in all things flex spending? Our weekly Flex-Ed column gives you a weekly dose of FSA Living 101, offering tips for making the most of your tax-free funds. Look for it every Thursday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center.

Living Well

Real Money: How to protect your kids from allergies (without putting them in bubble wrap)

Allergies. There's no better way to say it: allergies are the worst for parents and kids alike. It can prevent kids from having fun, especially if your child has a serious (even life-threatening) allergy. When I used to be a teacher, I had a student who was allergic to eggs and dairy, so whenever birthdays rolled around, she was left without a piece of cake.

As a parent, I want to do whatever I can to protect my child. It's not realistic to hover over him or wrap him in bubble wrap, but there are other ways to protect your child with allergies.

Practice asking questions

If your child is older, have them practice asking questions about the food he's eating. That way, it ensures that your child will be self-aware about what situations they may encounter that may have foods they're allergic to.

Some questions to have them practice include asking about what's in that dish, or mentioning your child has an allergy and asking to see the ingredient list. It could also include what else was in the kitchen at the time when the food was prepared in the event of cross contamination.

Of course, it goes without saying that you need to alert all necessary adults, but you never know if your child is playing with another child and they unknowingly offer a piece of "forbidden" food.

If your child is too young (or is just a quiet kid in general), consider giving them a tag or something similar that clearly states what their allergies are. If you're traveling to a foreign country, you can make an allergy card, one where you can point to in order to indicate what your child's food allergies are.

Keep a kit handy

You always want to have provisions on hand. It's not a bad idea to make a couple of these kits - one in your child's backpack (if they're allowed to bring it), one in the car, and in your purse (or bag). You already know that allergy reactions start quickly, so you'll want to be ready.

These products can include:

Another tip: make sure the bag is bright and clearly labeled. The last thing you want to do is ruffle through your belongings when your child has an allergic reaction.

With these tips in mind, you won't be able to prevent all allergic reactions. However, you can prevent them from making a bad situation worse.

Basic allergy essentials

Healthsmart Kids Steam Inhaler

This cute cow-shaped steam inhaler was created with kids in mind.

PediaMist Pediatric Saline Spray

Protects, cleans, moisturizes and soothes your child's delicate nasal passages.

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Whether you budget week-to-week, or plan to use your FSA 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.

Accounts

Flex-Ed: It's never too early to map out your open enrollment

Sitting down and looking through mounds of paperwork and websites, and reading confusing jargon isn't the most exciting thing in the world. But you shouldn't let open enrollment wait until it's too late to make a smart decision. Start by considering how your health plan affects you and your family.

We know it's only mid-August. But that doesn't change the fact that you shouldn't wait until the last minute to map out your open enrollment benefits. There are lots of benefits to do doing so -- the biggest one being your health. And you may save some money as well. Just think about when you have a medical emergency and have to take out a loan to pay down your bills. Or when you've had opportunities to enroll in FSAs in the past, and chose not to.

Don't make the same mistakes by putting these decisions off until "later." Instead, get a head start and have your ducks in a row, so when it comes time to choose a plan, you can make the best choice for your needs.

Learn from past open enrollment mistakes

We're not recommending you beat yourself up. We're just saying this is a great time to assess what worked -- and what didn't -- with your past health care spending decisions. Think about how you came to decide past health plans and see what you could have done differently.

First, go back and think about why you picked a certain plan. Is it because it was the least expensive? Were tax-free spending or savings options on your list of priorities?

Once you have those answers, then think back and figure out whether you looked at all the features available and what would happen if you had to pay out of pocket. You can also think about how you're currently taking advantage of the plan. Have you been maximizing your benefits? Do you regret not opening a FSA?

Once you have this locked down, you can make a list of what you're looking for in a health plan -- the things that might fall under that "regret" umbrella. If you end up choosing the same one you currently have, then at least you have a good idea of what to expect in the coming year. If not, you'll know exactly what to look for when upgrading to a new one.

Pretend you're applying for a new health plan each year

Even if your employer allows you to passively continue your health plan selection every year, don't. Be more proactive, even if you're content with what's offered. In other words, you want to pretend you're applying for a new plan each year, for the exact reasons mentioned above.

Doing so will also give you a chance to see if there are any perks or benefits that you missed, and helps with better communication between you and the HR department. That's because you'll remember to update relevant information and ensure you're asking the right questions to reassess your choice.

Don't be afraid to be "confused"

Pretending you're confused is a mindset shift you can take in order to make sure you're clear on what it is you're getting into. The premise is simple: read the entirety of your health plan and assume you know nothing. Look at every piece of jargon and prepare a list of questions to ask the open enrollment representative.

For example, one of the best questions you can ask is ones relate to cost benefit trade-offs. Is there a way you can have a representative answer your questions about your specific situation and predict a cost calculation? What if you want to an FSA? Or does it make more sense to choose a qualified high-deductible health plan with an HSA?

No, you're not going to annoy anyone in your HR department (at least it shouldn't). After all it is your health and your wallet. Treat open enrollment as a year-long planning event and you'll reap the benefits in the year to come.

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New to FSAs? Need a refresher course in all things flex spending? Our weekly Flex-Ed column gives you a weekly dose of FSA Living 101, offering tips for making the most of your tax-free funds. Look for it every Thursday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center.

Living Well

Asked and Answered: What are some smartphone-compatible ways to use my FSA?

Admit it or not, most of us are pretty much glued to our smartphones. But I'd argue most of us aren't using them to their utmost abilities. You know, for things like health and wellness.

Sure, you can argue that playing games are a great stress reliever, but there are some pretty neat health care products that help you with other areas of your well-being, such as pain relief, and even for self-care purposes.

The best part is that these products and apps don't need to be expensive or difficult to use. Even if you're not a tech geek, you'll wonder why you didn't try out these products and apps sooner.

Your health...

Blood pressure monitors

A blood pressure monitor can be cumbersome considering that you need to make sure to record your results and the equipment can be clunky. The great thing about having a blood monitor that can connect to your smartphone is that it not only helps you monitor your blood pressure, but it can help you understand your results much easier.

Blood pressure monitors like the QardioArm measures and records your heart rate readings in addition to your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. You can record notes on the app about your results and set reminders so you won't forget the routine you set for yourself. Because frankly, schedules get hectic and it's natural to forget.

Stress management apps

Stress management has been proven to help people with their anxiety levels and emotions. For novice and experienced practitioners alike, having something to guide you through the process can help you focus more and ensures you're more likely to stick with it.

There are many free apps out there that offer different types of relaxation or meditation, including guided ones (where someone speaks guiding you through visualization exercises) and timed ones with music.

Here are a few to check out:

  • Insight Timer - This free app has more than 4,000 guided meditations featuring more than 1,000 teachers. Topics include nature, stress and self-compassion.
  • Aura - This app will offer you a new three minute meditation sequence each day. You'll be asked how stressed or happy you are and you can save the meditation if you like it.
  • Calm - This app features sounds of nature and ranges anywhere from 3- to 20-minute meditations. While many meditation sequences are free, you'll need to pay a small membership fee to access the entire library.

TENS devices

Whether it's to help you relax or nurse a sports injury, these devices are great because they're wireless and you can use your smartphone as a remote controller. Some even have massage functions if you just want to unwind after a hectic day.

Depending on the brand you choose, some apps even help you get the most out of your TENS device such as instructions on where to place the electrodes and tracking how well the treatment worked.

Technophobe or not, it's always a good idea to find the best ways to relax, recharge and take care of your health. With new devices arriving so often, many of these can not only remind you to incorporate healthcare as a part of your routine, but it can help you understand your symptoms.

Your financial wellness...

As you know from reading our Learning Center, there's a lot more to your FSA than just the products and services you buy. Budgeting your monthly spending, tracking your FSA balance and documenting your previous expenses are all key parts of maximizing your flex spending dollars. In other words, to borrow a catchphrase from 10 years ago, there's an app for that.

Most modern banking institutions have basic apps that allow you to manage your accounts and monitor your spending. But some banks have taken these apps a little further, offering a wide range of features to manage your FSA, HSA or HRA from anywhere. (Some even use fingerprint recognition technology to speed up and secure the process.)

Apps from institutions like Optum Bank and Kaiser Permanente allow you to:

  • Track FSA spending
  • Capture and submit receipts
  • Make HSA contributions through bank transfer
  • Collect reimbursement from qualified expenses

Most apps will also allow you to find qualified medical expenses for your accounts, but we know a better way to do this, too.

Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor

The smart blood pressure monitor that fits your daily life.

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From FSA basics to the most specific account details, in our weekly Asked and Answered column, our team gets to the bottom of your most-pressing flex spending questions. It appears every Wednesday, 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.

Basics

Flex-Ed: Getting new graduates off to a good financial start

Graduation season has come and gone, and while we're still celebrating our accomplished kids, the real work starts now. Parents can get a bit emotional sending our children off into the world. After all, there are a lot of responsibilities that come with being an adult, such as learning to deal with finances.

Your child may already know how to budget, and might understand the basics, but there are a lot more considerations to think about than ever before, especially if they've been under your health care plan.

If you can drop a little financial wisdom before they leave the homestead, it can pay huge dividends later in life. Here are a few suggestions on what to teach them.

Budgeting for health insurance

Your child may have been lucky enough to latch onto your health plan until now, or you may even continue to cover them if you wish under most plans until they're 26. If not, this new expense can cost more than what some new graduates may think, and they may be caught off guard if you don't help to prepare them..

If their employer provides health care insurance, have your graduate go through all the options available to see how much they could save. If they choose a more traditional health plan and have the option to select a flexible spending account (FSA), then that's another good tip to pass along.

Saving a few bucks on sales tax might not seem that important to a generation who dumps millions of dollars on Fortnite, but once they see monthly and yearly savings, the importance will become alarmingly clear.

Understanding the consequences of high-interest debt

Ideally your child didn't graduate with any debt. But this isn't always an "ideal" world. If they do have debts to pay down, then it's important to sit them down and discuss what it means to pay it back on time.

The Department of Education's StudentLoans.gov website is a great resource for calculators and other educational material. It is also a good place to see if there are any incentives from the Federal government to help limit a graduate's monthly loan payments.

Of course, it's important to prioritize. As in, they'll first need money to cover their living expenses (e.g. rent, food and transportation) and then the rest to pay down loans. It's best to help them figure out a few calculations to see if paying the minimum payments or slightly more will help them become debt-free faster based on what they can feasibly afford.

Saving for retirement

Maybe this isn't a topic we cover much on the FSAstore.com Learning Center, but we do spend a lot of time discussing retirement on our sister site, HSAstore.com. And it's important for graduates to understand, regardless of which tax-free health care accounts they choose. Because it doesn't matter if retirement seems like a faraway destination, it's never too early to start setting aside money for it.

Even a small amount of money compounded over time in an investment account will reap big rewards in 15 to 20 years.

There are accounts like employer sponsored plans (which financial experts recommend participating in as you'll get free money from your employer) and other traditional retirement accounts like an IRA. But, if your child is healthy and putting money in something like an HSA, he or she can invest that cash once the account reaches a certain threshold. In this case, they're saving on taxes, health care costs and investing in their retirement.

We'd love to help our children get off on the right foot as they set out into the world. Teaching them financial lessons and how it applies to their lives is no doubt invaluable. Then you can rest better knowing your graduate is entering the world a little more financially savvy.

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New to FSAs? Need a refresher course in all things flex spending? Our weekly Flex-Ed column gives you a weekly dose of FSA Living 101, offering tips for making the most of your tax-free funds. Look for it every Thursday, 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.