You would never know I have vision problems thanks to my contacts. In fact, I hate wearing glasses almost more than I hate not being able to see things and running into walls (which, to be honest, I do a fair amount of anyway).
This is why I want to get LASIK. What if there’s a fire in the middle of the night and I can’t find my glasses? What if I bumble around like one of the Three Stooges straight into the flames?
At an average cost of $2,135 per eye, it’s a bit more than I can afford at the moment.
But, that’s the great thing about personal finance! Just because you can’t afford something now doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to have it. We’re grownups, with beer and budgets!
Here are some of the ideas I have for being able to afford the cost of LASIK eye surgery in the future.
Get an Interest-Free Loan
Yup. You too, my friend, can actually get a free loan to have your eyeballs lasered. Companies like Care Credit offer interest-free loans to those who want to have the procedure done right now.
I’ve decided against this route. Even though it won’t cost me anything, it’s still a debt. And a debt is an obligation that requires you to pony up a part of your paycheck every. single. stinkin’. month. Furthermore, if you don’t pay your “free” loan every month, the company can and will come after you and turn your finances into a shitstorm.
There’s a lot of uncertainties coming up in our future. Zach’s graduating at the end of this semester and we’ll be high-tailing it to Washington state soon after. Plus, virtually all of our household income comes from my freelance work, which is notoriously unstable.
So—I’ll pass on this one.
Save Up in a High-Interest Savings Account
Ahh, that’s more like it. Instead of being indebted to someone, I can actually put my money to work for me like the little green digital minions they are.
Related: Need help setting up a savings plan? Check out the Budgeting for Budget Haters course.
I currently bank with Ally Bank and earn 1.35% on my savings. I also put aside $200 per month for health expenses, including for a potential future LASIK surgery. Assuming I don’t withdraw any money for other health expenses (a tall order since I have the genes of a lineage which should have been wiped out eons ago by evolution), I could have enough money saved to completely fund the LASIK eye surgery in as little as 25 months.
Use a Health Savings Account (HSA)
In case you’ve never heard of these magical tools that “rich” people use, check out this cool video by this very excited lady:
Basically, any money I put in my HSA can be used to pay for medical expenses, including LASIK. And, because I can deduct the cost of any money I put in my HSA when I file my taxes at the end of the year, I can essentially get a discount on the procedure.
Since I’m now in the 22% tax bracket, I can essentially shave $1,100 off the cost of LASIK surgery ($5,000 * 0.22 = $1,100). Thus, a $5,000 surgery would really only cost me $3,900 when the dust settles after I do my taxes at the end of the year.
The only downside is that I’m not actually eligible for an HSA right now. You need to be on a high-deductible health plan, which me and Zach were on up until a few months ago through the ACA marketplace.
Unfortunately, the price of our plan went up so that it would cost more than our rent, so we were forced to switch to one of those weird healthshare programs (which I’m not necessarily in favor of, but it is the only option within our budget).
We currently have $1,000 saved in our HSA which we can still use at any time even though we’re not on a high-deductible health plan now. We just can’t contribute any more to it (and get the tax benefit). Hopefully, Zach will get a job after graduating that offers a high-deductible health plan so we can continue saving in our existing HSA, and then I can get a baller discount on the procedure.
Related Post: Savings v. Debt: Our Four-Step Guide To A Balanced Plan
Medical Tourism: Canada Edition
We’ll be moving to Washington state in a few months. Guess what’s north of Washington?
Canada. And cheap health care.
(side note: why do they quote the price of one eye? Who does that? Who wants to go around with shitty vision in one eye and good vision in the other, like some sort of technologically-advanced pirate? Yarrr! I could only afford LASIK in me one eye! Where is me parrot? Can you see me parrot?)
The downside of this is that I won’t be able to use HSA money, since that is limited to procedures done in the States. But, if I’m looking for the cheapest price possible, the Canada option is definitely the winner.
How long will it take to pay off?
While I mainly want to get LASIK because I hate putting vision stickers on my eyeballs each day, I can’t deny that there’s also a financial motivation.
Here’s what I spend on a yearly basis to wear contacts:
- Eye exam – $173
- Contacts – $172
- Contact solution – $50
I spend $395 per year in order to wear contacts.
If I go the full-price route, either by getting a loan or saving up for it, LASIK will cost me an estimated $5,000. Thus, the surgery will pay for itself after 12 ½ years.
If I use my HSA to get a tax “discount” on the operation, it will cost me $3,900 and pay for itself after roughly 10 years.
But, if I go to Canada for a cost of $2,000, the LASIK surgery will pay for itself in as little as 5 years.
Guess which one I’m seriously considering!
Do you have any tips for saving on the cost of LASIK eye surgery? Did you have the procedure done, and if so, was it as horrifying as I imagine it? Leave a comment below!