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Fourteen thrifty places to buy a prom dress online

We've put together a list of little-known online stores that offer adorable dresses at affordable prices. With styles ranging from Morticia Adams goth to fairytale princess poof and everything in between, you're sure to find a dream dress for less at one of these sites.

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    Jasmine Boyle, 17, tries on a prom dress at the Glamour Gowns event in Los Angeles.
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If you're a teenager or the parent of a teenager, you're well aware that it's prom season.

In between the dress, the shoes, the hair, the makeup, the corsages, the limo, the dinner, and of course, the tickets, teens and their parents can easily drop close to a grand on this adolescent rite of passage. According to an annual survey by Visa, the average American household spent $919 on the dance in 2015. While that number is actually down a bit from $978 in 2014, it's a price tag that's out of reach for many families.

So how can you help your teen feel like the belle of the ball without withdrawing all the money in her college fund? With the help of Brad's Deals, of course! We've put together a list of little-known online stores that offer adorable dresses at affordable prices. With styles ranging from Morticia Adams goth to fairytale princess poof and everything in between, you're sure to find a dream dress for less at one of these sites.

Lulu*s

Lulu*s is perfect for a prom-goer who's looking for a classic style that won't make her prom pics look dated in a few years. With tons of styles under $100 and shoes and accessories to boot, Lulu*s is a great place to shop for prom 2016. Plus, all orders more than $50 ship for free, and returns are free, too!

ModCloth

Modcloth is stuffed to the brim with adorable vintage-inspired styles, which makes it a great place to buy a quirky pinup-style prom dress that's guaranteed to be great quality. Most of their dresses go for under $200, and as someone who's purchased her fair share of ModCloth frocks in the past, I can attest to the fact that they're usually true to size, and ALWAYS solid quality.

Missguided

You'll find some seriously trendy pieces on Missguided whose price tags will have you doing a double-take. Not only are there lots of dresses under $100 here, there are also prom-ready gowns for under $70, under $50 and even under $30.

1861

This French-Canadian online boutique boasts classic old Hollywood styles at surprisingly reasonable prices. Shipping is free on orders to Canada over $50, and orders to the U.S. over $200 (U.S. orders under $200 ship for $15).

ASOS

I'm a giant ASOS fangirl, so I wasn't in the least bit surprised when I found their prom selection to be primo. As with everything ASOS, the prices can range from dirt cheap to "oh my God I think I need to pawn grandma's necklace," but their search tools make it easy to control for price and style, and ASOS also has a VERY wide range of sizes and brands available.

Boohoo

Boohoo's all about edgy style for the prom-goer on a budget. With dresses in their prom section for as little as $16, free shipping on orders over $50 AND a wide variety of plus-sized styles, it's easy to find a unique and chic dress at Boohoo.

A'GACI

With styles ranging from casual boho to gala-ready, A'GACI has a great selection of prom dresses at really reasonable prices. They also have free returns and free shipping on orders $50 an up, so you can try out a few options and send back what you're not feeling.

Promgirl

The name says it all: Promgirl does one thing: sell prom dresses and accessories, and boy do they do it right. With free shipping everywhere in the continental U.S., hundreds of brand-name dresses and easy ways to filter dresses by style, brand, body type or price, Promgirl truly has something for everyone.

Tobi

Tobi adds new merch every day, and their selection of long, uber-trend savvy dresses is to die for. If you're looking for a unique and stylish prom dress that no one else will be rocking check out their midi/maxi section. If you're not already signed up for their newsletter, doing so can save you 50% off your first order!

Love Culture

While most of the dresses on this site are more appropriate for Coachella than for prom, if you dig a bit you can find some more traditional styles. However, if you're looking for something a little more casual and hippie-chic to rock on your big day, you'll find a LOT of flowing, flowery frocks on Love Culture that will make you look like an actual fairy.

Forever 21

Prom dresses might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Forever 21, but the fast fashion chain actually sells more than cheap summer dresses and graphic tees. Check out the formal dress section of their website and you will be blown away by just how many prom-worthy dresses they have for insane prices. I'm talking $25 and less for floor-length formal gowns that no one will EVER believe you bought at Forever 21. Are these the kinds of dresses that are going to last the ages? In a word, no. You probably won't be passing these down to your granddaughter, but as you're only going to wear this dress once, do you really need to invest in something super durable? I don't think so.

Nasty Gal

Support #GIRLBOSSES everywhere and buy your prom dress from Nasty Gal, which has a wide selection of super-hip styles for a lot less than you'd pay at a department store.

H&M

While most of the dresses you'll find at H&M are either too casual or professional for prom, their party dress section actually has some affordable gems that would look great in the inevitable staircase lineup photo your mom is going to organize on Prom night.

Rent the Runway

Can't stop dreaming of walking into the ball dressed in designer duds? Check out Rent the Runway, and rent a designer prom dress for a fraction of the retail cost. As I've said before, you're not going to wear this dress again, so why not rent it for a night and send it back when you're done? We've written before about why we love RTR so much, but if you've never taken a poke around their site, do it now! Your wallet will thank you and you friends will be green with envy.

This article first appeared in DealNews. 

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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