Just having had LASIK in one eye three weeks ago, I have now been thrust into the world of prescription eyeglasses (for distance vision). I learned very quickly that the prescription eyeglass market is one that takes a hunk of savvy to navigate if one wants a good pair of glasses without a huge hit to the pocketbook.
Most seasoned glasses wearers probably already know all that I am about to share, but for newbies like me, I want to share my findings on Family Savvy in case it might help others save a chunk of change on eyewear. Here are a few things that I have learned about shopping for and getting the best deal on eyeglasses.
First, if you want designer, super stylish, and eye-catching glasses, expect to pay for the look. After finding several knockout pairs of Coach and Versace (at a mass eyewear retailer), I put them back on the shelf because I didn’t want to pay the price. I quickly resigned myself to “cute but cheap.” So, decide before you shop whether you want to plunk down the money for the designer look or if you can get by with “cute enough” and budget friendly. The difference in savings can be substantial.
Second, if you are fine choosing from a limited selection of eyewear that will simply do the job at the best price, save yourself some running around. Go ahead and make a trip to Costco. If you are a member, I think it is hands down the best place for affordable eyewear. If you are not a member but want to be, the savings in eyewear alone would more than pay for a club membership (which I personally could not go a day without).
Target has a reasonable selection and runs some decent specials. I didn’t specifically shop for my eyeglasses here but did purchase my daughter’s contact lenses there (at quite a nice savings). They will price match and apply any applicable manufacturer coupons. Also, if you have a Target debit or credit card, you will save an additional 5% off the contacts or glasses.
The huge convenience of Target’s location is a plus; however, there is a wait for most glasses or contacts. We waited longer than usual for my daughter’s contacts but were rewarded with a goody bag full of free lens solution, cleaning cloths, and coupons. The ladies at the 280 store in Birmingham are super sweet and helpful. This is definitely one place to try for affordable eyewear.
This was my first stop. The selection was o.k. but nothing to write home about (other than a few cute but expensive designer brands). The lowest price that I could get for a basic pair was approximately $250 and up (plus tax).
My second stop for glasses was here. This national chain has a nice selection and offers various deals and specials, many of which might be great for certain shoppers. But in my case, I felt the price was way too high for what I was looking for. Had I wanted a chic pair, I found two that I loved but that were too much of a splurge. One was a Coach with leopard print frames and hot pink temple arms. The other was a Versace with the cutest shaped frames I’ve ever seen and with an elegant bit of bling on the temple frames. After loving both these but placing them back on the shelves, I scoured the store for for basic, affordable eyewear. For what I found and for the average look, the prices didn’t adjust downward like I thought they should.
The best price I found there was $276.44 for one pair of single vision, non-reflective glasses. These were not a name brand and were just “”okay cute.” They looked basically like a fun pair of reading glasses that you’d find some place like Stein Mart. This price was after a “30% discount and an extra $10 off for AAA.” I was also offered another “deal” for a pair of polarized, prescription sunglasses for right at $200. No deal. Thinking there had to be a better way, I headed to one of my fave places, Costco.
I quickly saw that the selection was fairly limited, but I managed to find a frame that was really cute (Karen Kane for Costco), that looked very similar to the previous pair at Lenscrafters–like cute reading glasses. For these glasses, the Costco price was $152.00–more than $100 dollars less than the Lenscrafters pair and every bit as cute! Then, to top it off, the sweet gal at Costco Optical told me about a special (that weekend only) that took $30 off a pair of prescription sunglasses with purchase of eyeglasses. I found a perfect pair and ended up paying $130.00 for them. That is $50 or more less than the best price on LC’s sunglasses!
I must say, I felt a bit miffed about what I was quoted at the first two stores after seeing the same quality eyewear at such huge savings at Costco. In comparing apples to apples, the “deals” at the other stores weren’t deals at all since I was able to get the same quality for so much less. By driving a few extra miles, I was able to get regular glasses AND sunglasses and pocket nearly $200 savings. What a steal of a deal!
(The only possible drawback to Costco is that you do have to wait 7-10 business days for glasses, whereas Pearl and Lenscrafters can often make them the same day.)
My husband was so amazed at these prices that he is going to get new glasses this week. He has needed a new pair of glasses for over a year but just didn’t want to spend the money. For such an important purchase, I think Costco is providing a great service and a great value at a great price.
Have you found great deals on prescription eyewear? If so, I’d love to hear from you! I didn’t get to explore online options but am sure there are plenty more deals to be had. Let’s share what we know and help each other stay shopping savvy!