Budget Friendly Glasses and Contact Lenses

I’ve had a glasses prescription since I was in 8th grade which means for the last 15 years I should have dutifully been wearing eyewear to keep my eyesight from getting any worse. Unfortunately, also in 8th grade, I decided glasses were the worst and for about ~10 years claimed “I can see fine,” when “fine” was not at all close to what I could see. Luckily I smartened up (and also had, had enough headaches that I finally caved) and since my early twenties have been 100% in the corrective eyewear camp. I go back and forth between glasses and contacts (for some reason I do better with contacts for computer work and glasses for reading and driving). No thank you, I do not want to show you my face with the exact ones I wear, so instead I’ll fill up this post with animals wearing glasses. You’re welcome.

Glasses make you look smart and refined… right?

I strongly urge you to check in with your work benefits before moving forward! I knew I was paying into vision insurance out of every paycheck, but for some reason assumed it was only coverage for appointments. At my most recent eye appointment my optometrist asked if I’d be ordering contacts through their office (alert: it’s usually much more expensive to do this than to find the exact same brand and prescription online!). I defiantly said, “Of course not.” And he responded with, “Do you want to cash in your free insurance allowance for three boxes?” And I said, “What?!” Obviously I was thrilled, took my three “freebies” (paid for by my premium), and proceeded to order the rest of the lenses I needed online.

Buying glasses online is still a relatively new phenomenon. I recently talked my parents through how it could be a lot more cost effective than buying in store and how you have so many more options to really find a pair you love.

  • Coastal is my go-to for new lenses. I love the myriad styles they have and their prices are always 100% reasonable. They have a great filtering system that shows you the best glasses for your face and a 30-day guarantee for returns. Coastal is also constantly running promotions and has a great sale selection. I definitely recommend keeping an eye on their Sale section as well as checking in on what promos (listed on the site and on their Facebook page) are currently active. Also, sign up to their email newsletter and you’ll get 50% off a prescription pair! (Pro tip: Sign up again with an alternative email the next time you want a new pair…)
  • EyeBuyDirect, similarly, has prices that can’t be beat by in-store options. The many shapes, sizes, and colors offered online definitely give you lots of choice, and their “virtual mirror” feature let’s you upload a photo and “try on” the glasses to see what they’ll look like (or close to what they’ll look like… this is not a real mirror, after all). EyeBuyDirect regularly runs BOGO (buy one, get one) promotions, offers a 15% off deal and free shipping to new customers with email signup.

Contacts, too, can feel like a thing you can only (or should only) buy in your optometrist’s office. But do not be fooled! There are actually quite a few ways to order the exact same brand online and conveniently have them dropped right at your door.

  • EZ Contacts has delivered to my doorstep for a few prescriptions in a row and I still can’t get over how cheap they are. Compared to what my optometrist’s prices were, I ended up paying 55% lower using EZ Contacts. They, too, have fairly regular sales and promos and offer 10% off your first purchase with email signup.
  • Hubble has comparable prices (~$1 per day) but is the subscription service to answer your “oh no I’m out of contacts and I had no idea?!” problems. I used Hubble for a few months last year to try it out and would probably still be subscribed if it weren’t for the fact that I’m not an everyday contacts-wearer. I pick and choose when to wear contacts (~4 days a week at work) and when to wear glasses (weekends!), so I ended up having a surplus of Hubble boxes pretty quickly.
Sunglasses are glasses, too!

Any other four-eyes out there? What are your tips, tricks, or favorite brands for keeping your prescription budget friendly?? Let me know in the comments!

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