Personal Finance Review – Open Enrollment Edition

November 18, 2007

Can you see into the future?  Sometimes I feel like that’s what I’m trying to do when I setup my benefits during open enrollment every year.  The worst for me is deciding how much money to put into the flexible spending account and dependent care account.

We’ve never used more money than we put into our FSA, at the end of each year we’re usually scrambling to find things to spend money on to use up our balance.  What a crappy system.  I always try and estimate based on the previous year’s spending and any known health health procedures or purchases but I never get it right. 

Child care is a little easier to estimate since you can approximately plan out the number of days you need it in the next year. Of course things come up, kids or the babysitter gets sick, and you don’t take the kid as often as you thought and so don’t use all the money you’ve set aside. 

I still take advantage of the flexible spending account to help reduce taxes but I get frustrated trying to guess how much to put away during open enrollment and then again at the end of the year when I’m trying to use up all my money. Here’s a flexible spending account checklist I just saw by the Mighty Bargain Hunter that could help reduce this frustration and some other articles I liked this week:

It’s Time for Generation X to Grow Up @ Generation X Finance

3 Great Money Lessons from My Old Man @ The Digerati Life

Eliminate Debt: The Ultimate in Lazy Finances @ Lazy Man & Money

No HSA for Us, for Now @ Suns Financial Diary

An Interview From Hell @ Money, Matter, & More

A Bit About Taxes – Understanding Effective Tax Rates For 2007 – Planning For 2008 @ No Credit Needed

To Gift or Not to Gift: Frugal Gift-Giving Strategies@ Five Cent Nickel

10 Best Resale Value Cars @ Blueprint for Financial Prosperity

Index Funds Continue to Be Great Investments @ Free Money Finance

How Selling On eBay Is Similar To Investing In Stocks @ Money Socket

Think About the Money You Are Earning Every Hour! @ Moneyning

Your Money, Your Brain, and Your Happiness @ My Money Blog

Seven Things You Can Do Right Now (Without Any Capital) To Get Started On Chasing Your Dreams @ The Simple Dollar

Thanks to the Million Dollar Journey for hosting last weeks Personal Finance Carnival!

Ben

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Ben

Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn’t like the other kids… His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he’s helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.


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