Waste of money is relative.
My original table replaced a small shaper, my current motor/lift setup is a definite upgrade over the original. It provides the accuracy, dust collection and enough power to do all that the shaper did and more.
The bit sets I buy for this setup can be fairly expensive but in comparison to a set of shaper cutters they are a deal.
Too often I need to match a style for a project and nine times out of ten a router bit can be found to replicate.
Router bits can also be used hand held or in the table. (within reason)
Just one gain in production comes in when making that final cut to clean up an edge profile on a cabinet door to satisfaction. With the machine still running, I crank the bit up a tad knowing that the cut will be consistent, and since the depth change is visually monitored via the lift indicator, I know that I will not cut through into the hinge bore ruining the door.
Trashing a cabinet door costs a lot more than most suspect when it comes out of pocket.
Yeah, all of this can be done without a lift, did it for decades with a big plunger strapped to the original table.
Sure the lift/motor combo is like paying $500+ for a router but what it does for me is worth it. It stays in the table and it frees up the big plunger for on site/in shop hand held use.