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If you’re part of the almost 64% of the population who wears contacts or glasses, then you know how much your expenses can really add up. And boy, if you have more than one family member who needs eyewear, you could potentially spend hundreds if not thousands (depending on the prescription) every year on new glasses, contact lenses, or both.
Whether you’re shopping for new glasses at a traditional eyewear retailer or looking for the best places to buy contacts online, use this list of the best places to buy glasses to uncover some hidden savings — or rethink where you’re doing your eyewear shopping.
Download The Krazy Coupon Lady app for more money-saving tips, deals, and coupons, or text HACKS to 57299.
1. Get contact lens exams at America’s Best for $18.17 per exam with their Eye Care Club.
Regular eye exams at a local optometrist can average between $75 – $200 (without insurance) depending on where you live. However, most major retail vision providers typically charge $100 or less. Contact lens exams tend to run a bit higher.
At America’s Best, an eye exam for contacts is $99 which might seem a little high at first. But if you opt in to their Eye Care Club for $109, you can get contact lens exams for free for three years.
That $109 entitles you to two contacts exams a year for three years. This brings the cost of each exam down to $18.17 per exam over the course of those three years. To sweeten the deal, America’s Best also offers 10% or more off contacts and 10% off eyeglasses and accessories for their Eye Care Club members.
2. Buy glasses and contacts online to save up to 70%.
There are some super great websites that sell glasses for less than your eye doctor might charge. You can score great deals on contacts, too, especially if you buy in bulk. Here are a few of the top contenders for shopping online along with some of the incentives they offer to save you money on glasses and contacts:
- 1-800 Contacts: Sign up for their email list and get a coupon for 30% off your first order.
- 39DollarGlasses.com: Choose from a huge selection of glasses for only $39.
- Glasses USA: Save up to 70% on retail prices and get a coupon code for 50% off your first set of frames.
- Zenni Optical: Buy glasses for as low as $6.95. Yes, $6.95. And you can upload a picture of yourself to virtually “try on” frames.
TIP: We found a current deal from Glasses USA that lets you buy 10 pairs of daily contact lenses for just $1.
3. Skip expensive add-ons like progressive lenses and blue-light coating if you don’t need them.
Depending on your prescription and your lifestyle, you may want to spend a little extra to get add-ons like anti-reflective coating (to reduce glare) or light-adjusting lenses (for when you move from indoors to out). But you really don’t need these features unless you have a moderate prescription (above +/- 3.00).
Plus, if you’re using a flexible spending account to pay for glasses, some add-ons might not be covered. So be sure to do your research on which extras you might really need and which you can skip.
For example: The last time I went to get new glasses, I ordered a pair with progressive, non-glare coated changeable tint lenses. The total cost? Over $750. Yikes!
4. Buy from Glasses USA because you don’t need an updated prescription.
Let me tell you a little story: I bought glasses online at Glasses USA last year. I went online last week to look into buying prescription sunglasses. I found some I loved, then went to check out and noticed I had a “saved” prescription. So I selected this prescription and applied it to my order. And then I bought my sunglasses. My prescription was technically expired, but Glasses USA didn’t care. Mic drop.
Related: Find out where you can buy cheap glasses online and in store for as low as $6.
5. Try on Warby Parker glasses at home for free, then buy similar ones from Glasses USA instead.
I’ve been doing this for a long time. Warby Parker has a fantastic selection of glasses and the styles are A+. The prices — not so much, IMO.
Warby Parker offers free in-home try-ons, and you can order up to five frames to try on at home with no obligation for five days. I choose frames I like, try them on at home, and then send them back using Warby Parker’s prepaid return label. Next, I jump on the Glasses USA website and find the closest match for the Warby Parkers I liked. They’re at least half the price (sometimes more than that) at Glasses USA!
6. Reuse your still-good eyeglass lenses in a new frame.
Is your prescription the same as the last time you visited the eye doctor? If your frames break but the lenses are still good, you could save money by skipping brand-new lenses and just opting for new frames.
Choose a new frame that’s shaped like your last pair or maybe a little smaller, and ask your optometrist to put your old lenses in. Just remember that you can’t choose frames with larger lenses than the ones you already have.
Note: It’s more challenging to reuse progressive or multifocal lenses in new frames because the placement of your corrective lens depends on the shape of the frame.
7. Or keep your old frames and have new lenses put in them.
If your lenses are scratched but your frames are still good (or you’re in love with them), you can take your frames into an eyeglass store and just get the lenses replaced. Now, they’ll try and talk you out of doing this, because the average markup on eyeglass frames is around 250%. Brick-and-mortar eyeglass stores make a lot of their profit this way!
You can use this same trick if you find a perfect pair of designer frames or sunglasses at a discount store such as T.J. Maxx or Nordstrom Rack. Take them to your eye doctor to have prescription lenses put into them.
8. Shop for glasses at warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco to save an average of 33% (or more).
If you’re in an area that lays claim to a Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s and you need glasses, you’re in luck. These retailers offer prescription glasses for much lower prices than your traditional eyeglasses center — up to 33% less.
For example: Right now Sam’s Club is running a 20% off select frames offer through Jan. 2, 2024. They also have great deals on eye exams, with a Sam’s Club basic exam for contact lenses running you just $65.
Stack a deal like that on top of an average savings of 33%, and you’re looking at great prices at warehouse clubs for your eyewear. Plus you can pick up bulk goldfish crackers in the same trip!
9. Use code CONTACT25 at Walgreens to get 25% off your purchase of contacts.
If you’re looking for the best place to buy contacts online, check out Walgreens.com. Using the CONTACT25 promo code, you can save on every single box of contacts you buy through Walgreens. Here’s the kind of savings you can expect:
- Air Optix Plus Hydraglyde: Originally $62.99 a box, $47.24 after discount. (Compare to $59.86 at Walmart.)
- Air Optix Night & Day: Originally $99.99 a box, $74.99 after discount. (Compare to $89 at Walmart.)
- 1-day Acuvue Moist: Originally $87.99 for a box of 90, $65.99 after discount. (Compare to $71.86 at Walmart.)
You can’t use your myWalgreens rewards to pay for your contacts, sadly. But Walgreens does offer free standard shipping on all contact lens orders, and they have a super-simple-to-navigate contact lens rebate center so you can check which brands are offering current rebates to save you even more money. Stack rebates with their coupon code for some serious savings.
Use code CONTACT25: $87.74
Submit $40 Rebate: -$40
Total: $47.74 (59% savings)
TIP: First time Walgreens contact customers can save 30% with code DEAL30.
10. Use a flexible spending account to save an average of 30% on medical expenses.
If your employer offers a flexible spending account, or FSA, you have the option of depositing money into the account pre-tax to pay for medical expenses such as eye exams, prescription glasses or sunglasses, contacts, and contact lens solution. Using an FSA to pay for healthcare costs can save you an average of 30%.
TIP: Health savings accounts (HSA) are another way to pay for your eyecare products with pre-tax money. Check out our list of 50+ surprising HSA approved items you can buy.