A young Millennial holds Silk Almond Coconut Blend Milk in one hard and Daiya cream cheese and shredded cheese in the other

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Now that she's feeling better, she's also eating and budgeting better.

Alyssa from Mixed Up Money feels healthy again. But that hadn’t been the case for a long time until just recently.

“Up until recently, I was constantly feeling sick,” said Alyssa. “I battled the feeling everyday and it greatly affected my mood and my relationship. This misery continued for two years.”

She didn’t know what was wrong — and neither did her doctor. At her doctor’s request, she visited an allergy expert who discovered the culprit. Well, many culprits.

“I was allergic to a long list of foods and drinks,” sighed Alyssa.

Holy crap. Food made her feel ill. And not just any food — her favorite foods. “I was allergic to the food and drinks I enjoyed the most,” said Alyssa. “I could no longer drink wine, beer or cider or eat cheese, yogurt, mushrooms or anything with vinegar in it.”

Gone are the days of spending half of her budget on sauces and condiments that most people cannot live without. Ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, salad dressing — anything with vinegar in it. And she could only have chocolate, coffee and spices in moderation.

But she found a silver lining. “As much as it sucks to deal with these allergies (being my favorites and all), it has actually impacted my budget and my health in a very positive light,” noted Alyssa.

But it took time. When she first learned about her food issues, Alyssa stubbornly shopped for foods she could still eat. For example: “I dropped $60 on one trip just trying to buy any sauces that didn’t have vinegar in them, which was really unnecessary because they mostly tasted awful.”

She told me her biggest savings comes from avoiding restaurants. “Normally I spend an average of $157.07 a month on dining out and going for coffee, but in January alone I saved $94 on this portion of my budget,” said Alyssa.

She said going out is nearly impossible. When she tells the server she’s allergic to vinegar, “they don’t really know how to manage my meals.” She can only have french fries and chicken strips without any sauce.

On the flip slide, food shopping costs a bit more now because the only sauces she eats come from health food or organic markets. But she doesn’t mind. Alyssa enjoys prepping her own meals especially since it helps her avoid any health complications.

She also enjoys discovering new foods — particularly cheeses. “Cheese was something that I was concerned about,” said Alyssa. “I was worried I would have to spend a ton of money on a replacement product until I found Daiya (a makeshift “cheese”). It turns out that fake cheese is actually cheaper. Who knew?”

Exactly. Who knew?

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Meet the Author

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski


Bienkowski is a contributing writer and is the face of's 'By the Numbers' videos.


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