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In this episode, one woman tells us the designer purchases she thought would make her life better, but never did.

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.

Video by Grace Lee

Based on an article by Gina Vaynshteyn:

The Financial Diet site:

[PAPER RUSTLING] When I shop for myself, I'm really shopping for future me.

Future me has dewy skin, makes time for workouts, and looks like she's made it in life. Future me is better, healthier, happier, more effortlessly put together.

She isn't working on the couch in sweatpants or going to target with three-day unwashed hair in a bun. If I buy this one thing, then everything in my life will change, I've justified to myself. Except that one thing often turns into three, five, ten things.

And-- surprise, surprise-- I'm still the same person, wearing sweatpants and dirty hair in a bun at the store, something I've really worked on this year. After taking a financial hit is changing that mindset by figuring out the underlying reason behind my aspirational shopping habits. I was depressed, burnt out, and my health had fallen to the wayside.

Plus, my personal life felt like it was in shambles for various reasons, so I shopped. I haven't completely overhauled my life, but I'm gaining back control of it step by step. I spend less, cook healthier meals, make sure the dog goes on two long walks every day, and seriously just count my blessings that I have income during such a tumultuous time.

And when I do feel upset, anxious, or stressed, I figure out ways to grapple with those feelings that don't involve my debit card. I make tea and write in my journal, or rearrange my nightstand. Or I watch Fleabag.

I also think back to the things I've purchased that I once thought would make me happy but didn't. Here are a few. Number one, quirky designer dresses I've only worn once-- $200 to $300.

I've been obsessed with Rachel Antonoff since I moved to Los Angeles. Her clothing features whimsical prints like shrimp and feministy uteruses. Most of her collections aren't practical.

The designs aren't especially comfortable, and the prints are a little too loud for everyday wear. Since I haven't worked in an office for a year and a half, there's no real occasion for me to wear these outfits. RIP brunch and dressing up for friends.

Plus, Rachel Antonoff is expensive AF. Her clothes are amazing in theory. In practice, unless I become an influencer or a celebrity overnight, or someone who dresses up in maximalist clothing to work from home, nope.

I'm just not going to find an occasion to wear these dresses. When I do shop for clothing online, I always ask myself, can I wear this at home, and to the occasional trip to the store, and a social-distance-friendly meetup? Is this cute, practical, and will it provide me with multifunction use?

Number two, Christian Louboutins-- $900. To be fair, I made this purchase back when I had a good job I didn't think I'd lose. And I'd saved up for these so I could wear them to a fancy wedding.

I also just wanted a pair of Louboutins so that I could know I owned a pair of Louboutins. I am not even going to lie. And truthfully, they really are beautiful shoes.

In photos, they look fantastic. When I wear them, I want to take painkillers. Will I own and prize these shoes as long as I live?

Absolutely. Will I regret purchasing them when I could have purchased a much more comfortable, just-as-beautiful shoe? Also yes.

Number three, an Apple Watch-- $250-plus. I got myself an Apple Watch for my 30th birthday, and it's not that great. It was an older generation, so it was slightly less expensive than the brand-new version that was out.

But it was still hella pricey. I appreciate it telling me my heart rate is much too high when I'm walking the dog. I get it.

I'm out of shape. But I get mildly annoyed when it nudges me to stand up or meditate. I truly did think having an Apple Watch would motivate me to be more active and mindful of my movement, but I'm still not sure how it's any different from my iPhone giving me my steps for the day.

Number four, a rowing machine-- $400. Since all the gyms have closed down in my area of LA, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to spend over $400 on a rowing machine. I have used it maybe three times even though I had big dreams of getting rower arms and a rower back.

I spend more time going on walks with the dog, a free activity, than I do rowing for 10-minute intervals. I have two options. Either I make an effort to make the time to use the rowing machine, or I sell it.

Because right now, every time I pass it, I become overcome with a wave of remorse. Number five, new patio furniture-- $300. In theory, this was actually a very lovely purchase.

And the price was decent except that my 85-pound dog likes to chew on anything she can get her mouth around. So she whittled it down like a pencil sharpener in a couple of weeks. And you know what?

It's my fault. I should have gotten steel patio furniture instead of opting for the cuter design. Number six, expensive running shoes-- $125.

Once upon a time, this past spring right before I got laid off, I decided to replace my worn-out Nike's with some more ergonomic sneakers just in case I decided to take up running or increase my time at the gym. I ended up spending around $120 for a pair of Adidas that looked like a fashion statement from

Xenon: Girl of the 21st Century-- not in a good way. I did not take up running, and all the gyms closed. I still wear these sneakers. They're comfortable.

But I wish I opted for a much cheaper pair. You can get comfort and support for your feet without breaking the bank. Number seven, a hanging chair swing that broke-- $100.

During the summer, I decided it was a good idea to renovate the backyard. It'll feel like a vacation. So I took some savings and bought a couple of key pieces that would make me want to spend more time on my patio.

I bought a hammock-- I still love it and stand by this purchase, new wooden patio furniture on sale from Wayfair, and a swinging chair that hung from the pergola. The chair was a cute idea. Except one day, I went to go sit in it to read a book and it freaking broke because the rope snapped.

I ended up falling on my butt and was much more angry about the fact that I spent at least $100 on a swinging chair than I was on the bruise it gave me on my bum-- super cute.