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A College Student’s Shopping Hacks

Let’s go beyond the typical college coupons and discounts. Here are five surprising and unconventional tips that may guide you to your new favorite fashion find!

1. Purple Tag Sale at Marshalls / T.J. Maxx

Photo credit: PurseBlog

As a former employee at Marshalls, I will tell you now that the contemporary section can have some of the best steals of all time. Usually characterized by purple tags (although not always), these clothing items are designer or higher end brands (Free People, Juicy Couture, for example). If not distinguishable by purple tags, the u-line on the price tag will begin with “08”. The key to hacking the contemporary section of Marshalls is finding the items that have been marked down on clearance. I’ve been able to snag a Splendid jumpsuit (regularly priced $60+) for $10. Another steal was a pair of Paige Verdugo Ankle jeans (regularly priced around $140) for $15. Their selection definitely varies by day, but if you check every time you go in you can get lucky and snag some crazy good deals like I did!

2. Additional 50% off Clearance at Forever 21

Every now and then, Forever 21 will run promotions on their site offering an additional ½ off their clearance items! Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can get free shipping on orders $21+. I’ve gotten: a large pleather tote for $10; my favorite acid wash denim jacket with organza panels on the shoulder and all-over distress for $12; and three form-fitting cocktail dresses each for under $20. Another tip I recommend is browsing through their clearance section once a week and just scoping out options. If you like something, bookmark it and it’ll usually still be there when they run the additional 50% off clearance promotions!

3. Amazon Prime

You might think this is weird, but Amazon actually has some great clothing finds if you need something in a rush. I’ve ordered a scalloped red top for Valentine’s Day party, a black lace bodysuit, and an adorable cross wrap sweater all from Amazon. All of the items were under $20, and came to my door in two days, which is a plus! It’s good to read reviews and see what the actual item looks like in comparison with online images before you make your order. It’s usually pretty obvious which items are legit and which might end up being a scam.

4. The Men’s Section

One time, during a weekly Target trip for groceries, I passed by a moss green denim jacket on clearance for $8 in the men’s section. Sometimes, you can find great, unique pieces in the men’s department that add a unique element to your wardrobe! This usually works best for light jackets/outerwear or athleisure. Jeans, for example, are difficult because the fit for men’s pants and women’s are different.

5. Shopping Apps – Not a Scam!

I’m sure you’ve all heard of shopping apps through influencer promotion on YouTube videos and Instagram posts. One shopping app that I kept seeing pop up was Dote. I finally gave in and downloaded the app. One benefit to using the app is that your first order ships free and you can get $5 credit if you look in the video description from one of the influencers (usually their first name, I just tried a ton that I knew). I ended up getting a pair of ASOS slip-on sneakers, originally $30 before shipping, for a total less than $25.

I hope that these tips help you find a great new steal!


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Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.
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