Deal Shopping for Prescription Glasses *Tips & Hints*

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Glasses.  One of those things that we all REALLY want to save money on – they are such a necessity, but I know I still like to score a great deal on pairs that I LIKE.  Every few years I find myself searching around for the best deals … again.  I am sure many of you run into this same experience every few years as well!

BUYING ONLINE:

Well, I’ve decided that I really like shopping online for my glasses for a few reasons.  First, I seem to get the BEST deals online – I am guessing since you are shopping online you are saving the cost of all the fancy displays as well as a high cost office – and those savings are passed on to you.  Second, it is SO so easy to compare prices from one site to another.  Third, I get to shop on my couch when I have time (which is my favorite all time reason to shop online as you can tell from plenty of my deal posts) and can avoid getting a sitter or attempting to bring my kids with me.

Now personally, I really don’t care too much about how my glasses look on me.  No, I don’t want them to be too “Clark Kent”, but I wear contacts during the day and my glasses only at night or in the morning, but if you exclusively wear glasses, you want to know your frames look good, which can be a big draw back to purchasing online.  Now I just noticed that some online glasses stores have a Free In Home Try On Service where they will SHIP you 5 or so pairs of frames to try on at home for several days and then they provide a box and label to cover the shipping back.  That way you KNOW you are getting a great fit/style.  I love that you can try them on with different outfits, different lighting, and get as many opinions that you want.  Here is one example of an In Home Try On Service:

NAME BRAND OR NOT:

Well this one is obvious, but remember that if you skip the name brands and go straight for the no name, you will find a much better price. Most people buy a new pair of glasses every 2 years – they wear out, break (because you have them on ALL the time) or your prescription changes. Don’t spend a lot on a brand name. I have always bought generic brands and actually find that they make ones so similar to name brands that I am very happy with the look.

INSURANCE:

Maybe. Now some regular insurance plans might include some coverage for your vision – if it’s included (check your plan!) then definitely use it. If your employer offers vision insurance at a LARGE discount, then check it out. If you are 100% on your own for vision coverage, then skip it. My dad has worked in the insurance business for years and is amazing at figuring out how and what types of insurance pay you back best. Here’s the advice I got from him: The ONLY time you would want to consider paying extra for vision coverage is if you have a family of about 5 and you ALL wear glasses. Just do the math. (You can read more advice from my awesome dad about dental coverage here.)
The AVERAGE vision plan will cost you about $30/month and will cover about $200 for frames and around $50 for your exam – do the math! You pay $360 for one year of coverage. If you bought your own $200 glasses and $65 exam EVERY YEAR, it’s a better deal to skip the insurance.

SALES:

Well you already know how I love a good sale – but watch for those! We post sales that we see here and let me tell you, there are some killer deals out there. If you need glasses now (and isn’t that how it usually works out? They break and we need to see now!) make sure you at least look through the clearance sections of your online retailers.

As a quick example – check out this website – www.glasses.com. They are a part of 1-800-Contacts which has a great reputation and is actually based here in Draper, Utah! Their customer service reps are available through phone, email or online chat (my favorite – super fast and an easy way to compare one website to another if you have questions on a specific policy or product).

PRICE MATCHING:

Some online retailers will price match – which doesn’t mean much before your purchase, but some will price match (usually the cost of the entire glasses – not just the frames or lenses) to another retailer for about a month AFTER your purchase. Which is awesome if you happened to have to buy something immediately and then find a sale on the same item just a week or so later.  I actually learned about this feature on the www.glasses.com website while I was chatting with an agent about the lens prices.  I’ve included them below to give you a price-point to start your search with.  Keep in mind depending on the prescription the lens price can change.

Shipping:

As always, factor in shipping!  Some sites will have much lower lenses / frames, but charge as much as $30 for shipping.  Just because a site has more expensive glasses does not also mean shipping is free.  Usually this is pretty easy to test – throw a pair in your cart and often the shipping will be factored right there in the cart preview.  If they are offering free shipping, they will make sure that shows up for you right away.  If you can’t find a shipping price fairly easily, you are probably looking at about $20 right off.

Happy glasses shopping!  Feel free to leave comments for other readers on your favorite finds as well as things to keep in mind while shopping.

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