How I’m Paying For It: Eye Doctor Edition

Oh, my eyes.

In this case, I mean it literally: my eyes are the worst. I’m really, really, really nearsighted, which limits me to certain brands of contact lenses (most don’t go below a -10) and means that whenever I buy glasses, which luckily isn’t every year since my prescription’s been stable for a long time, I need to pay extra for extra-thin lenses.

This year, I do have eye insurance, luckily, but I also needed new glasses; my old ones broke a month or so ago and while I was hoping they could be fixed, the office said no dice. And I’ve had them for four or five years, so I sighed and said ok. But even with insurance, which knocked about 50% off the final bill, I ended up putting $673.20 on my credit card this morning, for the exam, contacts, frames, and lenses.

Now, it’s on the 0% card (the rate is good for another six months, I think) so I could pay it down slowly. But darn it, I just got out of debt. I don’t want to hit the new year with anything on the card. So, here’s how I’m going to do it:

$187.01: already saved in my “personal/health” category

$100: from December 2014 “slush” money

$150: from my “repairs/maintenance” fund (I’m repairing and maintaining my eyes, I guess)

$250: from the emergency fund (sigh, that’s what it’s there for)

$9.91: from January 2015 “slush” money (already in my bank account since I live on last month’s income)

This all sucks, and I hate draining my health and repairs sinking funds, not to mention the EF setback, but there are two pieces of good news: one, I know where the money is coming from and have it saved, even though I don’t like having to actually spend it, and two, since I hopefully will not need glasses again for several years, next year’s bill should be much more reasonable; the contact exam and lenses alone would have been $282.

15 thoughts on “How I’m Paying For It: Eye Doctor Edition

  1. Alicia says:

    Ugh! I haven’t had an eye exam in many years – too long honestly – I need to call and make an appointment. Hopefully my prescription hasn’t changed much, so that I can get away with my old glasses. I only have $200 every 2 years for vision care, so after $75 for the exam, I won’t get much for $125. So I’ll be paying a bit out of pocket if I need a new prescription. Hopefully not!

    $600 isn’t insurmountable. You’ll be fine, but I totally understand the frustration of going back into debt temporarily.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      My prescription hadn’t changed much, but one of the earpieces had come completely detached from the frame in a way that was unfixable. Since I need to be wearing my glasses *more* not *less* (to give my aging eyes a break from the contacts) I can’t really get away with not having frames that work, and new frames means new lenses, and…. Sigh.

      I’m both dismayed by the bill and grateful that a combination of insurance and discounts cut it in half — imagine if I were paying $1400 instead of just under $700! I’m already moving money around and I’ll pay off the card again by the end of the month; I just don’t like having to make this big a purchase on general principle. 🙂

  2. Jason says:

    I don’t think you should beat yourself up too much. I know you hate using the money, but this really is a non-negotiable expense and you could certainly argue an emergency. I have the same situation. No glasses. No see. No see, no teaching. No teaching, no dinero. And besides you probably look all distinguished with them anyway. So you have your fashion sense and new eyesight! A double whammy!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Oh, I’m not beating myself up — obviously, I need the stuff. As you say, no sight, no teaching, no cash 🙂 I just wanted that money for other and more fun stuff! [They are hipster librarian glasses, so yes, fashionable.]

  3. Glasses are so expensive. Ugh. I’m glad you could come up with the money. How cool that you are to the point of living off of last month’s income so you could pull everything out and stay debt free.

    I’m glad you can see!!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Hee, I’m glad I can see too! Before modern technology I totally would have died young by stumbling into an open pit or something 🙂 And I’m also glad that I had the money, even if I had to pull it from various places. (And insurance — could have been a $1500 bill!!!!!!!!) All around a lot to be grateful for even with the annoying money-suck.

  4. James says:

    That *is* what it’s for. Not that it’s any fun spending it. Remind me to somehow not need glasses.

    You’d think they’d wash your car or something for that price. Maybe do the laundry.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I am trying to think of how cheap it is, relatively, amortized across the four years the last pair lasted me 🙂

  5. Brooke says:

    Oh no! That is a big purchase at an inconvenient time. But, you have to applaud yourself that you are able to occur big costs and pay them off in the same month. Every month that you are credit card debt free and staying that way, you will have a greater ability to weather shocks like these.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      It’s really true that it’s great to have the money in place already! I’m trying to think about how good it will feel to have a year’s worth of savings behind me — right now my debt-free status still feels pretty fragile 🙂

  6. This whole getting-financial-act-together effort is full of tests! What a great thing that you’ve hit debt-freedom. Of course you would have to be subjected to a test right about now! I’m glad you opted for the quick pay-off route. That whole 0% lure is dangerous – not to mention manipulative. Now, it will be all about saving the big emergency fund (à la Ramsey) – one that would see you through 3 to 6 months of unemployment. Once that emergency fund is in place, mishaps like breaking your glasses – now a catastrophic event – will barely register. You are at a very good point on a very good path. Keep it up!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, I can’t wait to fill up my savings more — everything feels really fragile right now and I want to feel more secure. At nearly 36, I’m ready to have some $$ in the bank instead of barely making it every month. I’m just too old for this! 🙂

  7. Christine says:

    Have you ever considered laser eye surgery? My eyes were pretty bad too and felt like they kept getting worse. I had frequent eye exams and had to go on special contact lenses solution because of an allergy that if I kept this up over 7 years, it would have paid for the cost of surgery in itself. So I went for surgery! It’s a big investment upfront but so so sooo worth it.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Hi Christine! I’ve thought about it, but my eyes are so bad that laser surgery is actually not an option. They can only cut off so much 🙂 I would be a candidate for a different kind of surgery (where they basically drop a permanent contact lens into your eye) but that is extremely expensive; it would cost $20,000 to do both eyes. I do think about it because I feel like I spend so much on them anyway! But I’d have to seriously increase my income before I could go for something that expensive. Thanks for the comment!

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