March 12, 2015

Best Time to Buy Eyeglasses

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Even if your health insurance covers your eye exam and maybe even your lenses, you usually have to pay for some portion of your glasses. The frames are normally where you'll get sticker shock. You may find a few below $100, but they're often outdated. How can you be stylish but not foolish with your eyewear budget?

We have some tips for you on how to save money on eyeglasses.

Best Time to Buy

© Anne Worner (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Unless you plan to take advantage of a special promotion, there isn’t necessarily a best time to buy. In fact, the prices of prescription eyeglasses typically remain constant year round. Here are some ways to save if you can time it just right:

  • Check the deadline for your health savings accounts. If your employer has such a program, you can likely pay for the cost of your exam and glasses with the money you have put aside in the tax-exempt account.

  • Keep a watch on your favorite stores. Look for semiannual sales where you can get half off the lenses if you buy a frame, or even twofer deals (if you’re in the market to buy regular glasses plus prescription sunglasses).

  • Look at your loyalty cards for deals. AAA members can get a big percentage off their frames at LensCrafters.

How to Save Money on Eyeglasses

  • Shop around
    Who said you have to purchase your eyeglasses from the optometrist’s office? If you’re strapped for cash, it’s definitely in your best interest to explore all your options. The major chains often have a discounted section of designer frames to choose from. Also, consider smaller chains, such as America’s Best, and warehouse clubs, including Costco.

    Most notably, America’s Best offers BOGO $69.95 deals accompanied by a free eye exam.

    An important note: when selecting a vendor, confirm it is licensed in the U.S. and adheres to quality control and safety standards, or you could end up with a slipshod pair of eyeglasses.

  • Online Bargains
    While you’re shopping, don’t forget about online retailers, which sometimes offer up to 80 percent off on eyeglasses. But before you begin your search, you’ll need to have the following information on hand:

    • A copy of your prescription
    • Pupillary distance
    • Lens coating preferences and material
    • Frame size

    A few retailers to consider include Zenni Optical, Glasses.com, Vision Direct, and Coastal.com. Just don’t forget to confirm their refund or exchange policy in the event that your order isn’t the right fit.

  • Don't Cut Corners on Frames
    Selecting a cheaper pair of frames is understandable if you’re trying to slash costs in half. But you must proceed with caution, or you may end up spending more than you would have on a pricier option. While you don’t have to avoid good deals found at brick and mortar stores or online locations altogether, it’s important to do your research on the brand to ensure the quality of their products are up to par.

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