If you’re one of the people who needs them, eyeglasses can be one of the most expensive medically necessary things you will have. Unless you need some other fancy piece of equipment, your eyeglasses can cost several hundred dollars up to a thousand dollars or more if you decide to go with the name brand fashion designer frames. (If you’re reading this blog, I fully expect you wouldn’t, but we all know there are those that do!) Before I go much further, I must admit to not being one of those people who needs eyeglasses. (yet.) I have, so far, been blessed with good vision and very few problems as far as my eyes go. My wife, on the other hand, is not so lucky. And, if either of the kids takes after her in the vision department, we’ll be looking at some not-so-fun expenses in the future.
Some people will go to the optometrist, get their prescription, and then order their lenses right on the spot. And, most of those people will spend a whole lot more for their lenses and frames than they really should. Depending on how often your prescription, and thus your lenses, changes, you might be buying new lenses and frames on a pretty regular basis. Add it all up, and the expense can be enough to make you actually consider cutting off the bottoms of coke bottles and super-gluing them to some bent coat hanger wire. Attractive image, no?
What should you do to save some money on your eyeglasses?
Start by shopping around. Just because your optometrist is your eye doctor doesn’t mean you need to purchase all of your eye related devices there. The doctor already has gotten paid for the visit. No other compensation for their time and the visit are necessary. Most towns will have at least two optometrists, and bigger cities will likely have 10-20 or more. Bigger cities may also have at least one of the new discount eyeglasses stores that have been popping up recently. Take your prescription home, then call a few of them and ask about prices for the eyeglasses you need.
Take your business online. If you know what style of frames you want, there are several places where you can purchase prescription glasses online. Places like Glasses.com (run by the same company that runs 1-800-Contacts), can offer discount prices on eyeglasses because they don’t have as much overhead as many physical retail stores have with employees. Also, because they aren’t in a physical location, they can tap into the wider customer base of the internet and get bulk discounts on the glasses that they pass along to the customers.
One last place to look that many people forget about are warehouse and membership stores. Places like Costco and Sam’s Club usually will offer discounted glasses to their members. Even some Walmart supercenters have vision centers in the building and can offer a better price on glasses because of their size and purchasing power.
Eyeglasses are an important, and often necessary, thing that many people will use over their lifetime. As your prescriptions and tastes change, you’ll want or need to pick up new pairs of glasses. Shopping around, both locally at other optometrists and at warehouse stores, and online has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars on your next pair of glasses, and thousands over your lifetime.
Use the money you saved to help pay off a credit card or some other debt!
What other tricks, tips, and hints to you have for saving on eyeglasses?
img credit: NCBrian, on Flickr
I started this blog to share what I know and what I was learning about personal finance. Along the way I’ve met and found many blogging friends. Please feel free to connect with me on the Beating Broke accounts: Twitter and Facebook.