I’m baffled by the fact that three of the major purchases of our lives as adults are ones we often spend very little time thinking about.  They are, in no particular order, a car, home and glasses.  Two of the three are really spendy and if you think about it, most people decide on them almost instantly, a gut reaction.  The last, for those of us unlucky enough to deal with less than perfect eyes, can have the most dramatic effect on how people see us.  I’m one of the unlucky who have been wearing glasses for about 8 or 9 years now, so most of my adult life.  Buying glasses that not only look good on you but also don’t break the bank can be difficult.

This brings me into how I’ve saved a ton of money purchasing my prescription glasses this year online.  It’s been 3 years since my last eye checkup and my glasses had seen better days.  I’ve read in the past on a few sites you can save tons of money buying online, but I’ve been a bit wary to do so.  After going to a few places to try frames on locally and seeing prices of $150-400, some even higher, just for the frames, I researched online even more, and booked an appointment with my local Opthamologist.  The appointment was normal, fast and in 20 minutes I had a prescription for glasses, which of coarse they try to sell you there locally.  I declined and left, already knowing what styles looked best on me.

After some research, I ended up on www.39dollarglasses.com, a pretty simple and straight forward site that offers $39 glasses and frames!  Too good to be true I thought, so I spent more than an hour reading through the whole site and looking at the terms of service, more on that in a minute.  You won’t find name brand glasses, in fact you won’t find any names on the glasses, which is fine by me.  They have a somewhat limited selection, which I think works better for them, and I headed right into the semi-rimless and found a pair instantly I liked, but would they fit?

They have PDF files of all their glasses online so you can print them out, cut the frame out and hold it up to your face.  Sounds silly but I did this, and it really helped.  Additionally, they offer some suggestions based on your face shape and show a model with a sample pair on.  But what if I don’t like them?  The terms of service say they will accept returns and in most cases they can cut your lenses to fit a different pair of frames for no extra charge.  Perfect.

After some thought and more reading through the site, along with emailing the frames to several friends for their feedback, this is the pair I ordered:

Filling out the prescription information was straight forward, and luckily I could read my Doctors handwriting, with one minor exception.  They need to know the distance between your eyeballs in millimeters.  Not much of an issue since the same PDF that has frames also has a ruler, so print it, cut it, look in the mirror with it held up to your face and it will give you the proper number.

The frames I chose were $59 (with glasses), and while the site is called $39 Dollar Glasses, only about 1/4 are actually $39, the rest vary with prices as high as $119 for bendable rimless titanium glasses, still a steal compared to $300+ for frames only from a local store.  There are several upgrades available, all for additional money, like lighter and thinner lenses, advanced anti-glare, tints, and more.  I chose none of them, only the glasses and the clam-shell case that came free.  After filling out the remaining billing and shipping information, the order was complete.  This was on a Thursday night, and I had read that most glasses are done in 2-3 days, so the anticipation started to build.  I chose the cheapest shipping method, USPS Priority mail, but options are available for faster should you need it.

One week later, the following Thursday, my glasses showed up here at work, where I had them shipped.  They were in a cloth case, inside the hard sided clamshell case, stuffed inside a padded envelope.  They arrived perfectly fine and as pictured on the site.  Now, the moment of truth, would they fit, would they look good, would I like them?

Yes, yes and yes.  I know my head is shaped kind of funny, so I was worried about them being wide enough and it looks like I picked the right pair.  They look great, I’ve been wearing them for nearly two full weeks now and the prescription seems spot on, with zero headaches or other problems often associated with new glasses.  My co-workers and friends have all complimented me on how great they look.  I’ll probably order sunglasses from them at some point later on in the year now, based on the great experience I’ve had.

The one thing I did notice, which I may try to take advantage of with sunglasses is, $39 Dollar Glasses will cut lenses into your existing frames for just $39.  If I happen to find a pair of sunglasses I like locally, I may just buy them and send them in for custom lenses, but this could be really helpful if you like your current frames or have scratched them really bad.

Total out of pocket expense for lenses and frames was about $65.  Compared that with my expectations to pay roughly $200 for name brand frames and $100-200 for lenses from a local store and I saved more than $330.  Buying glasses online isn’t for everyone, but this has been a very pleasant experience for me.