I’ve found a way to save 30 percent on eyeglasses and contact lenses. And did you know there are now excellent holiday bargains that are only on Twitter? I’ll explain below, along with soon-to-expire discounts on luxury European travel next summer.
Save 30 Percent on Glasses, Perhaps Through Your FSA
I just spent $600 on a pair of geek chic glasses as an early holiday present to myself and wish I'd known about the latest offer from Coastal.com, an online glasses and contact lens retailer. I could’ve saved about 30 percent, compared to what my optometrist charges.
From Dec. 26 through Dec. 31, its glasses are all 30 percent off and you’ll also get $10 off any contact lens orders of $99 or more. That translates to a savings of $54 on frames for Tom Ford glasses and about $50 for Dolce & Gabbana, for example.
I pay extra at my optometrist for special lens coatings on my glasses (anti-reflective, UV protection and scratch resistance), but at Coastal.com all of that is free.
Now to be fair to my optometrist, she handles everything when I order glasses. With Coastal.com, you have to do some legwork yourself to get the discount, such as supplying your prescription information.
If you have a Flexible Spending Account for health care expenses at work, this could be an ideal time to grab the Coastal.com deal. That’s because any pre-tax money in your account will disappear on Dec. 31 under the FSA’s use-it-or-lose it rules. Check with your benefits department to be sure that you can buy glasses and contact lenses with your employer’s FSA.
How Twitter Can Help You Pay Less for Gifts
You might not realize it, but some retailers and travel companies are now tweeting exclusive discounts for the holidays.
(MORE: Nine Stocking-Stuffer Gift Ideas Under $20)
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Radio Shack, for example, offered “24 Deals in 24 Hours” just on Twitter to entice shoppers on Cyber Monday. L.L. Bean (@LLBean) has been tweeting its "Holi-Daily" deal promotions every day since Dec. 6; the final deal will get tweeted Dec. 21.
On the day after Christmas CheapCaribbean.com (@CheapCaribbean) will offer $24 hotel stays for 24 hours, with first dibs via Twitter.
Bottom line? Be sure to “follow” your favorite companies and brands on Twitter. That way, if they offer special savings to their Twitterverse, you'll find out about it in your feed.
Save by Booking a 2013 Summer Vacation Early
Thinking about heading to Europe next summer? Trafalgar, a respected tour operator, is offering a 10 percent discount on its guided summer vacations if you book and pay in full by Dec. 27. (Airfare isn’t part of the discount; you need to secure flights on your own.)
The Trafalgar discount is for what’s known as the “land” price of its packages, which include first-class hotels, a travel director, many meals, sightseeing, bus transportation and airport transfers.
(MORE: How to Get the Best Hotel Rooms and Service)
Because these are pricey vacations, the 10 percent discount can really add up.
The land price for a 14-day trip to Italy normally starts at $2,750, so that means you'll save at least $275 per person. An 11-day tour of Great Britain and Ireland, including a day at the Guinness Brewery, provides savings of at least $224.
Other popular itineraries for next summer include "Spanish Wonder" (10 days in Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville and Barcelona) and "Imperial Europe" (11 days visiting such Eastern European cities as Budapest, Prague and Vienna).
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