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In this episode, one woman talks about the quarantine impulse buys that have added to her life, as well as the ones she regrets.

Through 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.

Based on an article by Maggie Olson:

Video by Grace Lee

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Instagram will have you believe I am one of those insufferable Pollyannas who picked up a bunch of new skills during the pandemic instead of just languishing in existential dread.

And while that's partially true, I did not tell my followers just how much time I spent burying my emotions in a Thredup scroll. That website claimed a truly shocking number of my waking hours in the past year for reasons I can't explain.

Was it the thrill of the chase, nostalgia for snappy little wrap dresses after weeks of nothing but a hoodie and leggings, the numb comfort of free shipping? We may never know. All I do know is that this weird coping mechanism is responsible for many of the items on this list of the best and worst things I bought during the pandemic.

Best-- a stand-up paddleboard, $741.91. This is the most money I've ever spent on something purely because I wanted it. I did not need to Stand-Up Paddleboard, or SUP, but between trying out my friends SUPs and going for a few SUP excursions on vacation, I could not stop thinking about getting my own.

I had a hefty freelance check to spend, so I did some research, asked my friends what brands they liked, and ultimately bought an ISLE Pioneer. It was the best money I spent in 2020. My SUP made me feel like I could create a mini vacation every weekend while we were hanging out at home.

Plus it's much easier to transport than the kayak I already had. So it allowed me a little more spontaneity. Worst-- blazer, $60.

Who celebrates two months of working from home with no end in sight by dropping $60 on a blazer? Me, apparently. Thankfully, it didn't fit so I returned it.

But I am forever haunted by an alternate reality in which it did fit and my pandemic brain convinced me that I, a person who has not worn a blazer in literally years, needed to keep it. Best-- a pair of extra long yoga pants, $19.19. I knew from the beginning that I would ignore every single article about adhering to office dress codes while working from home, so I was fully prepared to shell out on some comfy pants.

But when you're 5-foot, 10, this is no easy feat. There aren't many brands who make jeans long enough for these gams. A lot of tall pants barely hit my ankle bone.

And it's even harder to find lounge pants that don't suddenly become crops the minute I put them on. So when I saw a pair of extra long flare yoga pants from Athleta on Thredup for less than $20, I snagged them immediately. It's not an exaggeration to say that I wore these at least three times a week whenever the weather dropped below 60 degrees.

They are unbelievably comfortable. They show no signs of wear. And they are by some miracle actually long enough for my stork legs.

I still can't believe I got them for so cheap. Worst-- ModCloth sweater, $28. At this stage of the pandemic, I was getting by just fine on a steady rotation of the same four comfy pullovers that looked passably professional on Zoom and kept me warm in my slightly chilly home office.

And yet somehow I got it in my head that I needed this open weave sweater that is not at all warm, requires a cami to be wearable, and has a crew-neck, which I hate. Utter foolishness. I have worn it zero times.

Best-- Diva Cup $22.95. When I first got my period, I wore pads for months before I figured out how to use a tampon. I hated every second of it and will still do virtually anything to avoid pads.

If pads are your period product of choice, you know, that's great. They're just not for me. In the early days of the pandemic when the mad rush for toilet paper was at its peak, I saw tweets encouraging people to stock up on feminine hygiene products as well.

I'm not usually prone to doom-spiraling, but I found myself in a dead panic over the possibility of going to the store for tampons and finding nothing but empty shelves. Like any uterus-haver who's ever scrolled through a listicle of eco-friendly product swaps, I've always thought about trying a menstrual cup. Apparently, the potential threat of having to use a pad again was enough for me to pull the trigger and order a Diva Cup on Amazon.

Best decision ever. It may have started as a pandemic panic purchase, but my love for my menstrual cup has become a full blown personality trait. I will tell anyone and everyone about how great this thing is.

Yet there is a learning curve, but once you've mastered it, a menstrual cycle will change your life. No last minute trips to CVS because my period, rendered unpredictable by my IUD, made a surprise appearance. My menstrual cup is always ready to go.

No more mentally calculating how many tampons I need or wondering whether it's time to swap out. I can go 12 straight hours before my diva cup runneth over. And no more guilt about all that plastic waste either.

Menstrual cups can last a year or more with proper care. Worst-- wedge sneakers, $26.99. It should come as no surprise that the same brain that hit Add to Cart on a cold unflattering sweater and a wildly off-brand blazer, also decided that 2020 was the ideal time to take a fashion risk.

So there's now a pair of wedge sneakers collecting dust in my closet. I've worn these exactly one time on an errand that took less than three hours. However, the office sneaker head did say they were cool.

So that endorsement alone may have been worth the $26.99. I'm pleased to report that my truly regrettable shopping choices have slowed to a trickle and that I haven't missed any return windows on items that turned out to be flops. And 2020 did lead me to make some truly life-changing purchases that continue to bring me joy and satisfaction as the world inches towards the after times.

As long as I can keep my Thredup addiction under control, I think we're going to be just fine.