smart spending

5 smart ways to spend and save in 2011

Plan to be sick
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From prescription medicine costs to covering your co-pay for a visit to the doctor's office, getting sick can get expensive, even if you have solid health insurance coverage.

"Flexible spending is a great complement to your existing health benefits because you use it to pay for the items that aren't covered in your existing health care program," McBride says.

Flexible spending accounts use pretax dollars to cover these medical costs, helping you to increase the amount of money you take home. According to Bankrate's flexible spending account calculator, these help you pay less tax and increase your net take-home pay.

"We all have a certain level of expenses in the health category," McBride says. "A flex spending account is a no-brainer because it's like getting a discount on the expenses you're going to incur anyway."

To fully understand how these accounts can make a difference to your bottom line, Bankrate's flexible spending account calculator shows how they can help consumers cover dependent day care, out-of-pocket medical expenses, insurance premiums and dental work.




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