My husband thinks I’m the worrier in the family, but I know the truth. Yes, I worry about the little things, like what if Trader Joe’s never starts carrying their Conacado Organic Fair Trade Cocoa anymore and we’re forced to drink Swiss Miss the rest of our lives? That’s a real possibility, as they haven’t carried it in over a year. But my husband worries about things that will never happen. Like what if we don’t spend all the money in our flexible spending account and we lose what we don’t use?
For those of you who don’t know what a flexible spending account (FSA) is, it allows an employee to set aside a certain portion of his or her salary to be used for medical expenses during the year. The benefit is that this amount is not subject to payroll taxes, so it reduces the amount you’re taxed. The downside is that if you don’t use all that you set aside, at the end of the fiscal year (in our case, July 1), you lose any money that’s left in the account. The trick is to estimate how much you’re going to need during the year.
Every year my husband worries that he has estimated too much and that we won’t spend it all in time. He figures out how much our normal prescriptions will cost, adds in a pair of glasses for each of us, getting our teeth cleaned every four months, and then he throws in some more for unforeseen expenses. It’s those unforeseen expenses he sweats about. He started fretting back in November about maybe estimating too much. “Seriously?” I said. “We’ve got a long way to go until July.” “But we’re so healthy,” he moaned.
Yes, we are relatively healthy. But we’re also old. And something always comes up for old people. He just called me from the dentist office where he’d gone to have a sensitive tooth checked. “He’s going to do have to do a crown today,” he said, sounding unusually chipper. A crown? That will cost at least a thousand dollars. Praise the Lord!