UPDATE: Tesco sold the Tesco Opticians business to Vision Express on December 4, 2017. However, Tesco has confirmed that My Lens Plan will continue as normal. I have updated the links below to reflect this.
You might not know this about me, but my eyesight stinks.
In fact, it’s been bad since I was around 10 years old. When I got my first specs – the same pair that New Kids’ on the Block’s own Donnie Walhberg was wearing, I’ll have you know – I loved them. But the novelty wore off almost as quickly as did my love of my spiral perm. At the age of 13, I found out I needed braces and I begged my parents for contact lenses to soften the blow of my new dental work. Lucky for me, and my school photos (the hair, the perm and the train tracks was a busy combination!), they agreed. But roll forward nearly 25 years later and I am still wearing – and buying – contact lenses.
Over my adult years, I have no doubt shelled out an eye-watering amount on lenses – I would easily estimate thousands of pounds. But my biggest irritation is that I would often forget to order new pairs and be forced to wear a pair of old, hideous glasses with an out-of-date prescription. So when I saw that Tesco had a direct debit plan, I couldn’t help but check it out.
As it turns out, it is not only very convenient, but also will have saved me as much as £190 in just 18 months. Here’s how:
WHAT’S THE DEAL?
My Lens Plan is a direct debit scheme form Tesco Opticians that helps you spread the cost of your contact lenses with monthly payments. The contract is not fixed-term, so should your financial circumstances change, you are free to end the plan. You also benefit from a discount which means you pay less than if you bought your lenses in the store itself.
What’s more, should your prescription change and you find yourself with a surplus of redundant lenses, you can swap up to three months’ worth free of charge.
If you have been prone to losing lenses – or, like me, your toddler chucks a three-month box into the loo – the plan also allows you to get replacement pairs for no extra cost.
There are limits however; if you are a daily disposable customer you can get up to 10 replacement pairs per year. If you are a monthly or twice monthly contact lens customer there is a maximum of three replacement pairs per year. Which is pretty fair, if you ask me.
The lenses I wear are Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus, and one three-pair box (six-weeks’ worth) would set me back £16.50 if I was to buy in store. Over a year, I would need nine boxes at a total cost of £148.50. But with the direct debit scheme, I pay £10.83 a month (£129.96 annually) – saving around £18.50 per year on the nine boxes of lenses required.
Now, I know what you are thinking: “A saving of around £1.50 a month? Well, that is hardly worth doing!” But it is from the extra benefits where the savings can soon add up – and I’ll show you how.
THE FREE GLASSES: WHERE THE BIG SAVINGS CAN BE FOUND
Where the plan offers the best value, in my opinion, is through the free glasses offering. After your first six months of payments, you qualify for a free pair of prescription glasses from the £39.10 range every 12 months thereafter. If, like has happened to me, you set your eye on a pair of designer frames, there are extra discounts on any pair of glasses in the £65 to £180 ranges – and you can shave off as much as £81 your spend.
Check out this handy little graphic I found on the Tesco Opticians’s website, which shows that the more you spend, the more you save:
HOW MUCH HAVE I SAVED?
For me, the main benefit is that running out of contact lenses is now a thing of the past. Now, not only do I always have more lenses than I need, I also got free glasses after my first six-months, and then new frames 12 months after that.
I calculate that over the first 18 months, I will have saved 189.75 with the £27.75 discount on my contact lenses and £162 with two pairs of glasses. If I had of opted for cheapest frames over that time, my savings would have still been £105.95.
Which, if you ask me, is a no brainer.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)
Just like with any good deal, there is always something to watch out for.
With this offer from Tesco, bear in mind that you don’t get a voucher in the mail for your new glasses, so make a note in your diary when you are due a new pair or you could miss out. What’s more, if your prescription expires, your account will be placed on hold and you will not receive any new lenses until you get a new sight test – so keep an eye on your dates.