Article – By Kelly Gannon

Six Tips for Saving Money on Eyeglasses

By Kelly Gannon

It’s an unfortunate fact, but most people will need eyeglasses to help them see at some point in life. If you’ve already had to purchase glasses, then you know how expensive they tend to be. While according to a 2005 study from MIT the average true cost of eyeglasses is only around $2 per pair, if you go to your local optician or optometrist you should be prepared to pay between $178 to $390, on average. There was a time when people had no other choice but to pay this hefty fee, but today the frugality-minded have a host of cost saving alternatives to choose from. Here are the top six ways to save:

Shop at Costco, Sam’s Club, or Walmart

Glasses can be bought at Walmart for as low as $40, and glasses at Costco can be bought for around the same price. At Costco, just the glass part of the glasses can be bought for as low as $20, and their frames start out at $19.

Even Cheaper : Order Glasses Online

The average price for glasses bought online is $20 – $30 total for both the frames and actual glasses. If you’re into “extreme frugality”, there are even reputable online stores that sell glasses for as low as $8! The quality is often the same as you would receive in a traditional optical store. The one major downside is you don’t get to try them on before buying them. Still, if you have an old frame, a significant amount of money can be saved this way. While this is a great option for most people looking to save some cash, it’s not really the best option for people who need progressive or bifocal lenses. Those types of glasses require measurements that need to be taken “in person” and must be estimated when the lenses are bought online. While this works for most people, it’s not ideal. For some, it doesn’t work at all – online retailers will be sure to let you know their limits.

Re-lens an Old Pair

If you only need new glasses because of a broken frame, consider having your current lenses put into a replacement frame. You can have this done at Walmart or Costco, but expect to pay a “mounting fee” of around $25 in addition to the cost of the new frame. Also, this will usually only work if you get the exact same frame that you had the first time.

Another option, if you have a frame you love but need new lenses, is to bring the frame to an optician or Walmart / Costco and have new lenses put in. This way, you will only pay the cost of the lenses. When frames often cost hundreds of dollars by themselves, this can be a great way to save some extra cash.

Buy OTC Readers and Use Single Vision Glasses Instead of Expensive Progressive Lenses

How badly do you really need those progressive lenses? Do you really just need glasses for reading? A lot of people who are told they “need” progressive lenses can actually make do with mega-cheap reading glasses from the drugstore. Make sure to explore this option with your eye doctor.

Avoid Brand Names on Both the Frames AND the Lenses

Brand name frames and lenses don’t necessarily mean an assurance of durability or quality. There are many stylish frames that aren’t coming from a famous brand, and there are perfectly functional lenses being produced in Asia and distributed by little-known sellers. If you need to save money, let go of ideas about needing to purchase brand name products.

Donate Your Old Glasses and Claim a Tax Deduction

Did you know that you can take your old glasses to LensCrafters or the Lion’s Club International and donate your old glasses as part of the “Gift of Sight”  program and then claim the donation as a tax deduction? You can, as long as your glasses aren’t broken. If you’re needing new glasses simply because your eyesight has worsened and you need a new prescription, this is a great way to save some money and also do a good deed.

Kelly Gannon is a content editor for Just Eyewear, an online glasses retailer. She writes on topics including current events, healthcare, and personal finance.

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