Staff Writer

Alanna Ritchie

Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for, where she writes about personal finance and little smart ways to spend (and save) money. Alanna has an English degree from Rollins College.

Graduation cap on stack of money

Should You Use Annuity Cash to Pay Off Student Loans?

By Alanna Ritchie | June 4, 2015

Student loan debt won’t disappear on its own. Loan servicers with a court order can actually take money from your paycheck if you don’t make payments or fail to ask…

Credit report score

Breaking Down Your FICO Score

By Alanna Ritchie | November 27, 2013

You may know your credit score, but understanding how you are graded can be a tool to help you raise your score in the future, and avoid repeating the mistakes…

U.S. Capitol with a chain link in front of it

Consumer Financial Services Affected by Government Shutdown

By Alanna Ritchie | October 4, 2013

The continued U.S. government shutdown, now entering its fourth day, means that myriad services for consumers remain at a standstill. The Small Business Administration (SBA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),…

Lost wallet

Lost Debit Card Leaves Me Stranded

By Alanna Ritchie | August 13, 2013

“Can you hold please?” the banking representative asks me over the phone. “Yes,” I say. Deep breaths. Count to 10. This is the second time I’ve called my bank to…

Josh Brooks at work

Didn’t Pay Back Your Student Loans? Tax Return Is Fair Game

By Alanna Ritchie | August 5, 2013

Josh Brooks’ annual tax return is between $500 and $700. It’s a good chunk of money he could use toward paying off his credit cards, motorcycle and living expenses. Instead,…

Disputing a credit card charge

How Do You Dispute a Credit Card Charge?

By Alanna Ritchie | July 24, 2013

A credit card issuer shocked an Orlando woman recently when it called asking about unusual activity on her account — several hundred dollars’ worth of groceries and home improvement items…

Declaration of Independence and flag

Timeline of U.S. Federal Debt Since Independence Day 1776

By Alanna Ritchie | July 4, 2013

As we get closer to marking our 237th year of independence, we felt it was a good time to reflect on how debt is woven into our country’s fabric. As…

Flooded homes after Hurricane Sandy in 2012

Protecting Your Personal Finances Before a Disaster Strikes

By Alanna Ritchie | June 7, 2013

As the 2013 Atlantic hurricane seasons kicks off, it’s time to think about financially preparing for a natural disaster. When Superstorm Sandy tore through the Northeast in 2012, millions of…

Women, mothers are becoming breadwinners

Women Rise as Primary Breadwinners, Some Still Face Challenges

By Alanna Ritchie | May 30, 2013

College-educated women are catching up with men in the workforce, but many other women, especially single mothers, are facing great financial challenges, a new report shows. The Pew Research Center…

Unpaid internships are sparking lawsuits

When Unpaid Internships Go Wrong

By Alanna Ritchie | May 23, 2013

As you begin building your career path, the unpaid internship is a traditional starting point — but beware of its hidden dangers. Yes, your internship can build experience and connections,…

HIdden cellphone costs add up

Hidden Cellphone Costs Can Pull You into a Financial Black Hole

By Alanna Ritchie | May 21, 2013

Cell phones are necessary tools for school, work and play, but hidden wireless carrier fees, designer accessories and other sneaky costs can turn the devices into financial black holes. My…

Social media helps small businesses

Tweet Your Small Business Out of Debt, Increase Sales

By Alanna Ritchie | May 15, 2013

When sales are low and paying for traditional advertising, like newspaper ads and fliers, is pushing your small business further into debt, perhaps it’s time to embrace social media. Social…

mother's day on the cheap

Creative Mother’s Day Gifts on a Budget

By Alanna Ritchie | May 3, 2013

Expensive Mother’s Day gifts, like a tablet computer or a sparkly pair of diamond earrings, can dig deep into your pockets. Consumers across the nation are expected to spend about…

Expensive Receipt for Night Out

Dos and Don’ts of Having a Fun, Cheap Night Out

By Alanna Ritchie | May 1, 2013

While Saturday Night Live’s club kid Stefon may know all the hottest, trendiest spots you just have to check out, he makes no mention of one hugely important factor of…

How to save money on prescription drugs.

10 Ways to Save on the Cost of Prescription Drugs

By Alanna Ritchie | April 26, 2013

People talk about the high price of an emergency room visit or surprise surgery, yet most people shell out money every month for prescription drugs without a second thought. The…

spring shopping on a budget

Eight Budget-Friendly Shopping Tips for Staying Fashionable this Spring

By Alanna Ritchie | April 17, 2013

Shove those sweaters to the back of the closet; it’s time for spring shopping! Truth is, it can be a tempting time to get out the credit card and have…

Does my credit score affect my student loan eligibility?

How Does My Credit Score Affect My Ability to Get a Student Loan?

By Alanna Ritchie | April 16, 2013

The yearly cost for a college degree can total $50,000 or more, a price tag that requires most students to turn to student loans. Unfortunately, many students worry that their…

If you can't file your taxes in time, you can file an extension with the Internal Revenue Service.

Last-Minute Tax Filing Tips for 2013

By Alanna Ritchie | April 9, 2013

So you have your W-2s and paperwork in a stack ready to go, waiting in your desk drawer. Guess what? It’s time to get those out. No more procrastinating. First,…

Pedro Quezada used part of his Powerball winnings to pay child support.

Overdue Child Support Payments? Don’t Count on the Lottery to Bail You Out

By Alanna Ritchie | April 3, 2013

Pedro Quezada recently won a $338 million Powerball jackpot and began his life as a millionaire by — paying $29,000 in overdue child support payments. Most people who dream of…

Celebrate Easter without overspending on candy

Don’t Let the Easter Bunny Hop Away with Your Hard-Earned Money

By Alanna Ritchie | March 27, 2013

Easter initiates us into spring, bringing with it pastel colors, sunshine and bunnies galore. The holiday provides valuable family time that can be celebrated with sweets, gifts, feasting — and…