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You, like many Americans, may have some money lingering in your flex spending account for 2007. You need to use it or you'll definitely lose it.

Back when I had a flex spending account, I'd always use what I had left at the end of the year for part of a pair of glasses at LensCrafters or some other over-priced joint -- on a good year it'd cover maybe one temple, and a couple of nose pads, and maybe two-thirds of a lens.

Anyway, if the options laid out before us now had been available then, I'd have been decked out in a number of pairs of new specs in time for the New Year.

Some companies have extended the deadline to use flex benefits for a couple of months into the 2008 (the IRS started allowing this in 2005).

(NOTE: You'll need to check with your benefits people as they have yet to be required to grant this extension. Most decent companies have, so here's hoping you work for one. If not lean on your HR staff for next year.)

Need glasses? How about a few pairs?

39 Dollar Glasses will do most of the work for you. All purchases made with them can be made with your company FSA credit card. In most cases they'll be automatically approved with no more paperwork.

Look for this graphic on all of their products.

You may have luck with some of the other retailers, but no one makes it easier on you than 39 Dollar Glasses.

The deadline may be later this year, but the result is the same -- use it or lose it.

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See and share more great shots of Torley and others in the GlassyEyes flickr group.
Torley, who you may recognize -- at least in name -- from Linden Lab's amazing Second Life, needed some glasses. I mean he really *needed* some new glasses (see "before...").

Unable to see particularly well and in need of a new look, he, like I a year previously, went to buy some new glasses at a traditional eyeglasses outlet. After picking himself up off the floor when seeing the price, his mind took him to the internet.

A thoughtful and well-written piece was spawned from this experience. Here are a few of the highlights:

My gosh, "There's got to be a better way!" I tensely exclaimed to myself, and it's within those tense self-exclamations that I rationalize, "You can buy a lot of things through the Internet for cheap!"

At this point he found the 43Folders article by our friend, Matt. And through that connection, us.

I figured, "If this goes bad, I don't have a big hole in my wallet, and if this goes well, I've triumphed in my experiment!" (I like to run experiments ordering things off the Internet.)

We're kindred spirits in this regard, Torley (no way am I going to pay $60 for a used Airport Card for 6 year-old iMac).

I tried them on right away, bounded up the stairs, and approached my wife like a crocodile snakes towards a baby duck, only friendlier. She noticed with much kittenish excitement (I love this "wavy arm" thing she does), and likes them a lot more.

Torley picked up style #18385 at Goggles4U and looks great (and happy!) in them.

DON'T hesitate. DO read the full story here.

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As we hopefully spend some time with our families, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for a great year of great stories and community.

Enjoy your holidays (and your glasses)!

Until the end of the year, 39 Dollar Glasses is running a $10 off any order campaign to aid people in using up their remaining flexible spending account money before the end of the year (more on that in a few days).

Don't need any more glasses just now? Order an extra pair of prescription sunglasses.

If you haven't tried 39 Dollar Glasses yet, this is it. Drop what you're doing, grab your prescription (you've got it stored on "Script Keeper" already, right? If not, click that button up above!), and make a quick order. You'll be thrilled with the results and the service. If you're not, let me know and I'll get in touch with them for you -- I know people. ;-)

This is a great time to get some great glasses at a GREAT price!

Notes: Discount price will appear as you approach the end of the shopping cart experience and offer expires on December 31st.

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I've ordered a few times from Optical4Less and have been happy with each purchase. Do I wish they got here sooner? Sure, but less than two weeks is still acceptable, especially when we're adding to the collection as opposed to waiting to be able to see again.

I ordered another pair of plastic frames as they tend to be a bit bolder and more stylish (look what this whole thing has done to me), and this pair seems more substantial than the last plastic frame I got from them. My wife, in all of her 20/15 glory, has wanted to get a pair of glasses for fashion purposes. I figured, if I order a second pair from Albert, I get free shipping. They practically ordered themselves at that point, especially considering all I needed to do was get her to sign off on a style.

You may notice a similarity. Yep, they're the same style in different colors. I got the 20% brown tint -- something I really grew to like from the first pair of photochromic lenses I ordered. Amazing how crisp everything feels and how much it reduces my eye fatigue. The only thing I'm bummed about is that I really prefer anti-glare (something else I've learned to love now that I can afford it) and I can't get tint with the anti-glare from Optical4Less.

All in all, I'm really happy with the purchase and Ang is enjoying hers for a change of pace.