Should I Contribute To A Flexible Spending Account?

Absolutely, provided that the account is for expenses you already incur.  Most families with out-of-pocket childcare expenses, including summer camps, have discovered that the max $5,000 childcare Flexible Spending Account is a great way to defer the cost of raising children.  Similarly, many people who pay out-of-pocket transportation expenses (commuter rail, metro, garages) can contribute up to ~$3,000 a year to pay for these costs on a pre-tax basis (i.e. no Federal, state or payroll tax, so often 30% or more in savings).  Finally, participants in a traditional health care plan can contribute $2,500 annually to pay for annual out-of-pocket medical-related expenses.

It is important to note, however, than unlike health savings accounts, these funds are “use or lose” at the end of the plan year.  For those who can project their FSA eligible expenses with consistent regularity, it is fairly straightforward to budget these amounts.  

Need another reason to use a Flexible Spending Account? Providers are becoming increasingly user friendly.  Gone are the days where one had to fax the eligible expense receipt and wait two weeks for a refund check to be deposited into their bank account.  Online expense submission and direct deposit are now standard for the industry.  There is no excuse not to save money.