Dec 05 2012

My cheap glasses from Zenni Optical

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I went to Target for an eye exam last month, and was pleasantly surprised when my vision prescription improved. It has done that in a few of my last exams. Weird! But I’ll take it.

We don’t have vision insurance, so our expenses were out-of-pocket. My exam was somewhere around $50 (not bad) but the glasses I liked would have cost around $260. Yikes.

I went ahead and ordered them, figuring it costs what it costs. I took my prescription online to Zenni Optical to order a prescription pair of sunglasses for a good price.

I ended up shopping around their website and saw a variety of frames that I might like just for my day-to-day glasses instead of the expensive set from Target (I can return the set from Target for 100%. I haven’t even picked them up yet).

Of course, it can be really hard to shop for a pair of glasses online. Since I’ve tried on many pairs over the years, I had an idea of what works for my face. I uploaded a photo of myself so I could virtually try on glasses.

I bought three pair of glasses and one pair of sunglasses. Why so many? Why not? I’ve never had more than one pair of glasses at a time, and for the price I thought it would be fun. I also figured it would help in case one pair wasn’t so good.

All told, my Zenni bill was $147.40. That included shipping, frames, lenses, their most expensive protective coating, and some clip-on sunglass components.

My order arrived last week (finally — it took awhile) and I was mostly satisfied. I liked 3 of the 4 pair. The pair that I thought would be my favorite actually wasn’t at all — it was just a bit too big for my face after all. I think I will return those, but I won’t get all of my money back. Zenni’s return policy isn’t that great. I can get 50% of my money back. Hopefully that process will go smoothly.

I am satisfied with the other two glasses, and also the sunglasses. I’ve never had prescription sunglasses before, and they’re fun :). I just chose a frame and added an 80% grey tint for an extra $4.95. All of their lenses have UV protection (so they say).The clip-on sunglasses were no good. They were cheap ($4.95 each), but flimsy and awkward. The clips for mine were visible while wearing the glasses, and that’s distracting and ugly. In my opinion, skip the clip-ons and just go for a stand-alone set of sunglasses.

I earned $5.70 cash back by clicking through good ol’ Ebates* first. Since I paid with my cash-back credit card, I’ll get another 1% back. I don’t have a Flexible Spending Account or a Health Savings Account, but that could have been one more way I could have saved on this purchase.

The price was substantially cheaper than one pair at Target, but ya know what? These are cheaper quality, too.

 

One set I have are plastic frames and while they are sturdy enough, I can see how I could end up breaking them if I’m not too careful. My other keeper set is a wire frame that seems to be put together a little better. Due to the “Made in China” stickers all over my order and how long it took to receive them, I suspect these were actually manufactured and assembled in China (though I don’t know for sure).

That part concerns me. I mean yeah, I guess I should have questioned more of how this company can afford to offer such cheap glasses. I’m having a bit of buyer’s remorse over this aspect, but at the same time I’m not going to return all of these glasses for only 50% of my money back. One pair, sure. But all of them? No. I’ll wear these until they break or my prescription changes.

Next time, I think I’ll order from Warby Parker. These glasses are a bit more expensive than Zenni ($95 for a full pair) BUT they are made in New York, and they have a few other neat features about their company, such as for every pair they sell, they donate a pair to someone in need.

They also will send you 5 frames to try on for 5 days to see how you’d like them before you order. That’s handy!

I wish I knew about that company before I ordered from Zenni. I found out about Warby Parker while doing some digging about this post.

Anyway. I’d also like to save up and get LASIK, so maybe these will be the last glasses I need for awhile anyway. That would be nice.

Have you ever bought glasses online? How was your experience?

*affiliate link



Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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