WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

How I saved $396 on glasses and contacts this week

Posted November 15, 2010

Here's my tale of why it pays to comparison shop when it comes to buying glasses and contacts. I hope you enjoy my little  story.

Last week, one of my daughters needed a new pair of glasses and the other was getting contacts for the first time. After their appointments, we went to the attached optical center to look at glasses and get fitted for contacts.

My daughter had a hard time finding a pair of glasses she liked in the kids section, so she was directed to the adult section repeatedly (she is 9). I really felt like the adult frames she was trying on were too big for her head, but the staff was encouraging her. After at least 30 minutes, she finally found a pair she liked and after the lenses, frames and lens upgrades the total was going to be $379. Our insurance only pays for $200 per year and I was really not comfortable with an additional $179 for glasses for a 9 year old (who looses stuff... a lot). So, I decided to wait and see what we could find at Walmart (where we had purchased her glasses last year).  The next day after school, we headed on down to Walmart and she found frames she loved in about 10 minutes in the kids section. They were $9.00. Yes, I said $9.00. I just about fell over. When all was said and done, she got all the same amenities as the glasses at the other place as well as the feature that turns them into sunglasses when you go outside during the day. Total cost: $79.00. Fully covered by our insurance with extra $ to spare.

Then comes the part about the contacts. We decided on daily disposable contacts, at least for the first 6 months while she gets used to them. Daily wear contacts are expensive. No getting around it. The contacts at the optical place: $52 per box. The contacts at Walmart: $44.99 per box. The contacts at 1800Contacts.com: $39.99 per box when you buy a years worth or $40.99 per box when you buy 6 months worth. Shipping was free. What is so funny is that Walmart actually orders their contacts from 1-800 Contacts. I saved $4 per box just by typing in the order myself vs. having the Walmart eye center employee type it in for me. And, they will be delivered to my house which means I don't have to make another trip to a store to pick them up.

I am so glad I listened to my gut and did not get talked into the $379 pair of glasses and the $52/box contacts just so I could be done with it. This week I saved $396.08 and my girls look great in their stylin' new eye wear!

What did you save money on this week?




Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • sfj6380 Nov 18, 2010

    Not trying to stir anything up, was just curious. I don't have $300 extra either.

  • kleegam2 Nov 17, 2010

    We get our eyes examined either at Sam's Club Optical or at Wal-mart optical center. Far cheaper than our optometrist. Then, with eye prescription in hand, I troll the sales both in town and online. BJs frequently has a terrific sale - buy at least boxes of contacts (once you added in the rebate, it was even cheaper than any other prices I found), get the frames, lenses with coating, etc. for less than $90. These were very nice frames. The frames were for me; the contacts were for my teen. Great customer service, too, which I appreciated.

  • polymerqueen Nov 16, 2010

    For people without insurance, a great option for eye glasses is zennioptical.com. My dad, sister, and I have all purchased glasses. I got my frames, lens, anti-scratch coating, and anti glare, shipping for $21.85. Check out the web site. Very good customer service too.


  • cj0023002 Nov 16, 2010

    @sfj6380 so it would be ok to pay an extra $300 just because they were made made in America?

  • sfj6380 Nov 16, 2010

    It would be interesting to know if the Walmart glasses were made in America.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Nov 16, 2010

    Thanks, bnblamch. I am familiar with Zenni (Clark Howard has raved about them before) but my little one wanted to try on her glasses. The little try on feature on Zenni doesn't really let you know how they will look on you. They ended up being totally free after our insurance so really, I can't do better than free! For those without insurance, zennioptical is a good option (if you are ok about not trying them on before ordering). They are a great option for a back up pair.

    Thanks jzka - I did a little research on reviews for the online contacts places and some were really hammered for poor customer service and taking too long to ship. Some of those places were a little bit cheaper, but I wasn't willing to risk not getting the contacts (or getting the wrong ones) to save just a little bit. I will check out coastalcontacts, though. Thanks!

  • dianelucasrat Nov 16, 2010

    I too saved big bucks at Walmart for glasses. I wear contacts but wanted a pair of glasses, I don't sleep in my contacts but watch tv in bed for I wear my glasses at night. My eye drs. office wanted $200 for a pair of glasses ( that was looking in the eco-line) I went to Walmart and got a pair $47.00 -- they have a frame section $7.00 / $9.00 / $12 and up.
    you can't beat that

  • t0tAlChA0s Nov 16, 2010

    I think that is great savings. I saved us a ton of money by staying home this weekend...;) lol

  • bnblanch Nov 16, 2010

    You can do better then that. Shop online for that price always and you can still buy adult sizes.

  • j3434 Nov 16, 2010

    great, faye!!! i spent a lot on glasses and rx sunglasses this year...even with insurance...but considering i only get them once every few years (bad, bad, i know) and was familiar with the quality and customer service of the place i get them, i consider it my perk for saving $ on other things. however, i would not for a second, hesitate to take my kids to walmart in the same situation. good to know!!