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In this episode, one woman shows us 5 splurges she made that are often ill-advised, but actually worked out in her favor.

Through bi-weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video by Grace Lee

Written by Kaitlin Stevens

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I like to think of myself as a savvy shopper.

I wait for sales. I do my research on the best prices for certain things and where to buy them, and when know to say no to buying something that I can't justify, most of the time.

There are a few things I've impulse bought or purchased despite them being hard to justify. Still, even though some things didn't make financial sense, they were well worth the money for how much easier or better they made my life. These are the top five most ill advised purchases I've made and never regretted.

Number 1, a Nespresso machine. I used to be a devoted mocha pot user, not just for the taste but the price point, $30 total for a device I used every day. But where the cost came in was the beans, which I would get from a local coffee roaster.

Also, mocha pots are kind of fussy. Sometimes making espresso felt like too much work, and sometimes I'd get distracted, and it would boil over, effectively ruining my work. I was entranced by TikTok videos of people making their cafe level morning coffees, hot and cold with their Nespresso machines, while I was definitely put off by the price point of the Nespresso pods, many of them more than $1 per pod.

I still took a chance and got a virtual plus on sale for $125. It has made my mornings infinitely better. My favorite flavor pod is the Chiaro double espresso, which I buy on Amazon for $33 for three sleeves of 10 pods, making the price $1.10 per pod.

It is steep, but I also never go out for coffee since I got my Nespresso. And what's more, I don't even want to. I honestly think that the Nespresso coffee I make at home rivals any of my local coffee shops, and $1.10 per cup is cheap compared to the 550 I'd pay for an iced oat milk cortado at a local cafe.

Number 2, my Sony a6000 camera. I had gotten quite into iPhone photography in 2015, and I wanted to step it up to a real SLR. The Best Buy employee I spoke with was partial to the Sony a6000, and he gave me a full rundown on why.

It was more user friendly than most SLRs and DSLRs, and its compact size made it feel like a point and shoot with advanced technology. And somehow despite the fact that I had walked into that Best Buy planning to spend $300 on a camera, I was persuaded to get this one for a whopping $999. I told myself I'd use my camera to make the money back, but that never happened.

I did, however, become much more adventurous with my camera in hand, exploring places I would have been scared to explore before, like abandoned buildings and tall rooftops. And it took beautiful portraits, which meant I got to take photos of my friends and family that made them feel good about themselves. Above all, my camera gave me the ability to create art in a meaningful way, which is truly priceless.

Number 3, a portable dishwasher. If you've lived in New York City or any other major city, you know how rare it can be to find an affordable apartment with modern amenities, like an in-unit washer and dryer or a dishwasher. I found a way to avoid ever having to pay a premium rent price just to have a dishwasher, getting a portable dishwasher.

It's what it sounds like, a small countertop dishwasher that holds 6 to 8 place settings and can move with you when you move apartments. You can either fill the water tank or hook it up to your sink. As someone in a two-person household, I use my compact dishwasher every day or two, depending on how much I've cooked that week.

Rather than pay $300 to $400 more per month on rent, I made a one time $400 investment in a portable dishwasher that comes with me. So now any apartment I live in will have a dishwasher. Number for, a folding treadmill.

I admit that when I first saw one of these on Instagram I thought it seemed a little silly. Walking is free outside, what do I need this for? But as I work from home, I often have to make up reasons to leave the house.

As much as I wanted to believe I'd have the motivation to go for walks every day, New York can be extreme. Walking outside in 95 degree weather or 20 degree weather is just unappealing. Since a tiny apartment doesn't really have space for a treadmill, this Urevo mini folding treadmill is a terrific solution since I can fold it up and roll it under my couch.

I'm able to get a workout in while I watch my shows without making myself dizzy, and most importantly, it saves me from being totally sedentary on days that I don't go outside. I'd say that's well worth the $280 it cost. Number 5, a memory foam bed-in-a-box.

I remember buying my first mattress for my first apartment at a local mattress store for $650. It was a pillow top full-size mattress with springs, and it was comfy, but also too soft and way too squeaky. When my partner and I wanted to upgrade to a queen size mattress, everyone was getting one of the subway advertised bed-in-a-box's Casper, purple, et cetera.

But when I checked out the prices, I was put off. So I took to Amazon and ordered one from Avenco, a brand I never heard of before. It was risky, but I told myself $370 is inexpensive enough that even if it only lasts me a year, it will have been worth the money.

I didn't expect that it would be the best mattress I'd ever owned. I've had it over a year now, and I've had zero issues, only great sleep. When my partner gets up before me or comes to bed after me, it doesn't disturb my sleep at all, which is not something I could say for my old spring mattress.

I was worried that going for an off brand mattress would be one of those things where I just should have shelled out the extra $500 for the name brand version, but it wasn't. And now I recommend this mattress to everyone.