Thinking About Purchasing Glasses and How to Do It Money Smart

Glasses have been on my mind lately.

First of all, my son Ike recently started taking fencing classes and while he loves them, he was finding it hard to wear glasses when he was wearing the mask, so he asked for contacts. I wasn't sure it was the best idea, because he is only 11- his brother got contacts at 13 and 11 just seemed young to me for that responsibility. In the end, I decided to go ahead. 

When Ike got checked before getting contacts, I found out that his prescription changed yet again. Since I was in a rush when I was getting him those, I ended up holding off on getting him a pair of glasses and just got him contacts, planning on going back to get him glasses to wear when he isn't wearing contacts. But once I started thinking about it, I realized I already had the prescription, no need to buy locally- I can get from a cheap online glasses place.  I'm thinking of getting him from Smart Buy Glasses that have cheap glasses for as low as $7 with a free prescription. (Turns out I wasn't so wrong about responsibility with contacts and ages- he lost 2 contacts, one from each eye, within the first few days he had contacts. Fortunately, since then he hasn't lost any.) And I am thinking that in the future I want to price compare contacts locally with online- I get online would be significantly cheaper.

My friend was telling me that her 7 year old son needed glasses for the first time, and she was shocked at how high his prescription was. Not only was his prescription high, he also has an extremely high astigmatism. When she went to get him glasses, after the discount she got from her insurance, she paid a whopping $236 - it was $417 before the adjustment! Getting him glasses was not something that could wait another moment, so obviously she paid for it then. But for a back up pair? She bought it from a cheap online website.

My glasses were also ridiculously expensive. Even more so than my friends' kids. Since mine are multifocal (and no, they weren't optional- I needed them to be able to function, and regular glasses simply wouldn't work for me) I think originally they were $850 per lens, but with a discount from my insurance I only ended up paying $900 for the whole thing. Still extremely expensive, but alas, I do need to be able to see. I recently was at the optician and asked him if he could check if my eyesight changed again (since it changed drastically recently) and he told me that he'd suggest not rushing to do that just yet because my glasses were so expensive, he wouldn't anyhow recommend changing them unless it was something really drastic. 

Recently, though, when I went to an eyeglasses place for something else, they mentioned to me the concept of multifocal contact lenses, and that sounded weird for me- like does the bottom half of the lens look different than the top? But they told me it actually is that the center is one prescrition, a little further is another, and a little further is another, because you focus differently with your pupils whether looking close, middle, or far. It intrigued me, but I was sure it would be ridiculously expensive. They told me, however, that a year's worth of multifocal contacts would cost approximately $275 which is a fraction of what I paid for my glasses. It really made me consider whether or not this is something I want to try, because I miss contacts. I finally bought contacts after a long while without, and then two months later my prescription changed drastically and they are useless to me. I just thought it wouldn't be possible with my vision needs, but finding out that not only are they possible but they are much cheaper than I thought they would be, makes me really want to pursue this!

But for now, I am strongly thinking of buying myself a backup pair of multifocal glasses from a cheap online glasses store. As long as they aren't impossibly expensive there.

Do you wear glasses? How about your kids/spouse? What type of glasses do you have? Where do you buy them? Are they expensive or inexpensive? Do you or your kids/spouse wear contact lenses? How do you get them cheaply?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. My husband and I both wear glasses; only mine are expensive. They're prisms, for double vision, $700 for the pair but I'll need a second pair for reading and other close work. Haven't gotten the other yet, but will need to eventually. But after seeing what you'd have to pay, I'm going to stop complaining!

  2. There's a teaching college where you can get discounted glasses. Contact me for details.

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