I was cleaning my glasses the other day and like the butter fingers I am, dropped them. A lens popped out. I instantly thought, “Great, I’m going to have buy new glasses now.” (I should note that I’m new to the glass-wearing crowd.) I suddenly thought, “What would happen if these glasses were broken?” How could I replace them cheaply?
With that in mind here are a few tips to save money on glasses and contact lenses:
- Buy Glasses and Contacts at Wal-Mart – This is where I got my current glasses. I decked them out with nearly every option and they came in at $200. If I had gone to a specialty store they would have been a lot more.
I must admit that I didn’t research it much at the time, but Wal-Mart has always been a “go-to” store for me when I didn’t have time to research. In the business world, there’s a famous saying that says nobody ever got fired for buying IBM products. I think the same could be said for saving money at Wal-Mart.
- Buy Glasses and Contacts at a Discount Warehouse – Before my most Wal-Mart purchase, I went to BJ’s Warehouse to partake of their 2 pairs of glasses for $99 special. You don’t get any frills like anti-glare coating, but overall it was a good price.
- Contact Lens Comparison Shopping – One place where you can compare contact lenses is at LensShopper.
- Eyeglass Comparison Shopping – A good place that focuses on glasses specifically is Eyeglass Retailer Reviews
- Buy Glasses Online – The glass I got from Wal-Mart had just about everything you can imagine. They are anti-glare and transition lenses. That cost me $200. I went to Prescription Glasses Online (who might not be reputable), and found that the same glasses would cost about $100.
- Get a Price Match – It doesn’t always make sense to start out looking for a price match (where’s the savings on a match?), but it helped out CleverDude.
Buy Glasses and Contacts in Discount Stores
Buy Glasses and Contacts Online
Buying glasses and contacts online might be the single best key to saving money on glasses and contact lenses. Sure you might have to wait some time for them to reach you, but the savings can be big. Plus, I typically wait a week or more for glasses from online stores. I went to one random site and com
You really discuss buying glasses online without mentioning GlassyEyes and his experience (hint: it’s very a good one). He’s got a lot of comments and even responded to one optometrist’s opinion.
To finish up my story about my dropped glasses, I simple brought them Wal-Mart. They fixed them in about 4 minutes. The most interesting thing to me is that they never asked my name, never verified that I was a previous customer, nothing.
Photo Credit: BrittneyBush
Kosmo @ The Casual Observer says
I purchased one of my better pair of glasses at Wal-Mart. My worst fitting pair was purchased at an optometry place.
My employer added vision coverage a few years ago. For $8/month (pre tax), I get an eye exam every year, new lenses every year, new frames every two years. I get the personal touch of an optometrist, with the same cost as Wal-Mart.
After reading an article on some news website (I can’t remember which) stating that the average markup for frames was over 100% and the lens was something like 300%, I looked to see if someone is undercutting the competition by a longshot…..I figured someone HAS to be in the internet age where someone could cut out overhead.
Since then, I have bought about 6 pairs of glasses / Rx sunglasses at Zenni optical (online). They average about $15 per pair. They look pretty much the same as what you can find at a retailer. I can’t tell much about quality seeing as I’m no expert….other than to say that they look good, fit fine, haven’t broke….and if they did, no matter because I can get about 10 pairs for the same price as it would cost me at a retailer. And of course, after factoring in tax savings from my FSA, they were even less expensive.
Jessica G. @ VSP says
Kosmo makes a good point. Generally vision benefits have a low pre-tax premium, and can help you save over simply purchasing the glasses–even if you go to a discount store.
Private practice doctors have a high standard of care and offer you the continuity of care that you may not find in a retail establishment. If you don’t have vision insurance, VSP has affordable plans for individuals or families: https://vsp.careington.com/index.aspx
the warehouse clubs are great for designer glasses as well, if you are into that sort of thing. i’m into saving money like everybody but i also enjoy a splurge on accessories like my glasses. at also around 200 a pair i’m finding myself in Hugo, Lucky Brand and Coach (wife) by shopping at Costco. wal-mart is the only place that carried specialty Rec Specs at a reasonable price – fully impact resistant safety rated sport eyewear for a THIRD the cost of specialty shops. great for runners, cyclists, etc.
welcome to the club, Lazy
Massive Growth says
I can vouch for online glasses, they are a fraction of the price and the only downside is you can’t try them on before you buy.
I got a pair of Dwight Schrute-ish specs a few months ago from Zenni Optical http://www.zennioptical.com/. Single vision eyeglasses from $8. Just plug in your prescription and away you go. I think there are others but these are the ones I used.
I got my latest pair of glasses for half off at Shopko. They work just fine. I buy my contacts online. There really are some great deals out there if you know where to look.
Kosmo @ The Casual Observer says
Jessica – I actually have VSP.
My only real quibble is that some VSP doctors aren’t in my employer’s plan, so my wife’s vision expenses (different doctor than mine) are paid at the lower, non-network rate, even though her doctor is a VSP doctor (he just isn’t in my employer’s VSP plan).
I do realize that this isn’t a problem with VSP, but rather a concious choice that my employer made – so I’m cool with it. In any case, it’s only a couple of bucks extra a month to include her, so even at the lower reimbursment rate, it still makes sense to include her on the coverage, as the marginal rate increase is less than the benefits we receive.
I’ve heard good things about 39dollarglasses.com from my coworkers (although I haven’t tried it myself as I need special lenses).
And if you wear glasses or contacts, you can set aside money in a flexible spending plan (if your employer offers it) to pay for glass, contacts, contact lens solution, etc with pre-tax dollars.
I, too, have used Zenni Optical and I loved it! I wear contacts daily so I only needed my glasses on rare occasions, and this was perfect. The only problem is that you can’t try them on, which is why I ordered 2 pairs. One pair I wear and the other I don’t, but since it only cost me $30 for both of them I don’t care.
Well, I hate to admit it but America’s Best is great for me. I know most optometry places hate them with a passion. But my gas permeable lenses are half the price I can get anywhere else. So, yeah, I go there!