July 30, 2010

I broke my glasses -Those Unexpected Expenses

Yeah - we all have them, unexpected expenses.  One cannot ignor that unexpected things do happen and not to plan for them is reckless. 

While on vacation this year I broke my glasses.  Fortunately I always bring my old pair with me on vacation. That is a throw back to about 12 years ago when we were in Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry.  A screw came out of my glasses and one of the lenses fell out. I went to a service desk and asked if they had a paper clip.  No one had a paper clip or piece of wire at the Museum of Science and Industry.  I had to wear my prescription sun glasses throughout the museum and at one point I was tempted to take a piece of wire off of a display.  Ever since then I always bring an old pair of glasses on vacation. 

On the last day of vacation this year I woke up, put on my glasses and the bow fell off.  I looked closely and saw that the place where the bow attaches to the frame was broke.  There was no quick fix to this problem.  I pulled out my old glasses and was again glad that I had brought them. The only problem was that they were my old prescription, which only changed slightly so I knew my only problem would be with reading.  Nevertheless, my DH didn't want me driving.  No problem, I read my Kindle ( I had to hold it closer to my eyes) while he drove us home.

As soon as we got back from vacation I went to my optometrist to see if the glasses could be repaired.  They could not.  I trust him as I have gone to him for 22 years. I know that if he could fix them, he would.  So then it was off to try on frames.  I liked several, but I kept myself at a $150 budget for the frames and I wouldn't budge.  Yeah, they have wire frame glasses that are so lightweight and comfortable, but not for $300.  I narrowed my choice to two frames and the assistant told me that she could order those two frames in about 3 different colors for me to look at.  So she did.

I like trendy styles when it comes to glasses.  I really, really liked the pair that had broke and I didn't want to give up style because we are on a budget.  I picked out black glasses with a purple and black design on the bows.  I would have selected them even without looking at the price.  I know they sound weird, but they look great on me.  I found a similar pair online here.

Since I had an eye exam in December 2009, I didn't need a new exam.  Back in December when my DH was at his old job, he had eyeglass insurance.  It didn't cover everything, but it at least covered the exam and a portion of the glasses.  I didn't get new frames back then as I loved my frames and didn't feel the need to replace them.  My DH and DS went ahead and got new frames and lenses.  I should have.

Today I selected my new frames - $136.00 and then when they added in bi-focals and glare resistant coating and so on it came to $379.00.  Remember, this didn't include an eye exam since I had one in December.  Then they gave me a $70.00 discount as it was my second pair of "lenses" within a 12 month period.  The net is $309.00. 

If I added in the cost of the examination ($100.00) to the total cost of the glasses without the discount, we are talking some serious cash - $479.00.  Over lunch my DH and I were discussing this expense.  We have been building our emergency fund so we have the money to pay for the glasses, but the discussion went in a different direction.  Maybe we should go somewhere else for glasses.  What are our options for purchasing our glasses at a lower cost?  Sooner or later someone else in our family is going to need glasses and perhaps we should shop around.

We have never had this discussion before.  When I was working I just bought what I felt we needed and it would never have entered my mind to go elsewhere to get glasses.  Now we are having those discussions.  Perhaps 22 years of purchasing glasses at the same place needs to change and we should try someplace else.  It is worth the try.  I have a friend who buys her glasses on line but I like to try on the frames in the store. 

So the next time I will have my optometrist do the examination and if my prescription changes, I will go to Lens Crafters for the glasses. The only problem is that I would have to drive about 60 miles to the nearest location, but if I got a good deal and was satisfied, it would be well worth the trip.


Moderate Means said...

If you ever want affordable glasses, try Zenni (their site is zennioptical.com I think.) We've ordered from them twice and have been really happy with the results. My husband's last glasses, after s/h were $25!

I need a new pair and have my prescription but haven't bothered measuring yet so I haven't ordered. I really need to do that...

Moxie said...

I know it's kinda late "this time around" But in my searches through frugal blog land I found this site...they have $8 glasses!!! I haven't bought from there yet as I do need a new exam...but at that price I'm thinking it may be a great resource! Here's the linky:


Martha said...

Great suggestions and next time I am going to try buying on line. Wearing bi-focals has always made me a little more skittish when it comes to buying on line, but for the prices that both of you quoted, it would definitely be worth a try.