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Sometimes, thrift stores and fake brands just don’t cut it for a poor college student striving to stay current and fashionable. These are the students who embrace retail therapy as if it were the cure for every illness known to man, the students who get in trouble with their parents when their credit card bills come in the mail.

For the shopaholics who have also embraced the internet and the savings one can get from buying online versus in-store, there are online shopping sites dedicated to giving you sample sale rates. And oh, the deals you can get! They are membership-only websites, but considering that membership is free and your only commitment is a daily email showing you the awesome sales they have for a limited time, I’d say it’s worth the signup. Warning: you will need to learn a little self-control, however; the deals are just that good.

  • ideeli: My favorite website by far because of the large selection of brands on sale everyday. Their weekend blowout sales are to die for, with hundreds of shoes/dresses/accessories on sale. And oh, the lovely red sale, where everything is 75%+ off. And a really cool thing I noticed is that they also offer free giveaways. ¬†Things go fast on ideeli, but with carefully planned timing and a little bit of luck, you’ll get great quality clothing at a fraction of the price.
  • HauteLook: Their daily deals and occasional blowout sales, combined with great navigation for ease of search makes HauteLook a go-to place for me to look. Prices are up to 75% off retail list. Both HauteLook and ideeli have big name and boutique designers that are affordable for many-a-college student!
  • Rue La La: I think Rue La La’s differentiation point is their large selection for guys compared to the other websites I’ve been on. My friend is always checking out the deals here, deciding whether he should buy that pair of jeans or sleek pair of shoes. Invitations are closed, so you need to be invited by a friend (a.k.a. me).
  • MYHABIT: This is Amazon’s effort in joining the fashion sale market, and while they aren’t as aggressive in their sales compared to the first three I mentioned, but Amazon is offering free shipping for a limited time, which the first three do not do. Prices are up to 60% off retail list. Shipping is a nice cost to eliminate when you’re getting a deal.
  • Gilt Groupe: This site sticks to the top designer brands, so it may not have the college student audience in mind. But at 60% off retail, maybe you will get lucky with something fantastic to treat yourself.
  • Lucky Chic: A fun combination of auction site a boutique sample sale, Lucky Chic offers great gift cards for almost anything you can think of. Most often they have auctions for Amazon.com gift cards, but there is so much more. From Amex/Visa/Mastercard giftcards, to Starbucks and designer boutique gift cards, you can get what you want instead of being limited to the handpicked collections the other sites show.

    Check out the video below from CEO of Gilt Groupe, Alexis Maybank Alexis Maybank, CEO Gilt Groupe:

Do you know any other online shopping sites for people on a budget? Let us know in the comments below!

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Photo courtesy of gwaar via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).