My way to recoup the lost $1,700 in my FSA.
All right, the money is gone because I failed to follow up with the claim I faxed earlier this year and there is no way to recover it, even though that was my money to begin with. If you know how flexible spending account works, you will know that it is before tax money that was withdrawn from your payroll into a flexible spending account. The most you can set aside your money is $5,000 a year. We have 26 payroll periods, so you will see $192 withdrawing from my payroll to my FSA each pay period. When the amount in your FSA accumulates to the amount that equals to your childcare tuition, you can then claim the money back. If you do not the claim the money before the next tax return, the money will be gone. So, why go to the trouble of setting up a FSA since it is your money to begin with? That is because you can save roughly $1,666 since it is pre-tax money. This is a benefit from Uncle Sam. However, I do hate the “if you don’t use it, you will use it” policy. I like the health savings account (HSA) better. This account is for claims on healthcare expenditure. The money unspent gets roll over to the next year, so you will not have the problem of losing the money if you don’t use it. By the way, this is also your money to begin with. All you save is the amount of tax you have to pay, and that is huge if you know how much Uncle Sam dips into our pockets.
Oh, I am sidetracked. About how I try to recoup the lost $1,700 in my FSA, I will talk about that when I have more time tonight. I am heading out of the door now to the swimming pool and enjoy the Jacuzzi.
All right, back to the subject. Actually, there is no way to recoup the lost money; rather, it is my attempt to try to find some money to cover the loss. I thought of reducing the number of dine outs, or foregoing our winter vacation in San Diego. Not dining out during the weekends will take 2 ½ months for us to save to that amount. Since I like eating and am really poor at cooking, reducing the amount of dine outs would be a torture to me. As for our winter vacation, my husband seems determined to go to San Diego, as he doesn’t want to break the promise we made to our kids about going to Legoland again this Christmas. Then I came up with an idea last Friday. I thought that maybe coloring my own hair would be a better alternative. Since it costs roughly $250 to have someone color my hair, I could save the lost money if I color my hair the next four times. I had colored my own hair in the past but failed. I decided to give it a try again. Following the instructions steps by steps, I made another attempt. It didn’t succeed the first time, so I tried another time after half hour, applying more coloring cream and letting it sit longer. This time, I had a severe headache, so I washed it off with shampoo again. Oh well, I just have to find a salon with a cheaper coloring price. My colleague suggested that I let my hair turn gray. I told her that would be out of the question. I am too young to have a head of gray hair.
Anyway, I just have to keep thinking. There are always ways to save money. I just need to find the easiest and effortless way.