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DIY Consumer Toolbox

Credit & Debt

Identity Theft 
Use this self-help kit from the Federal Trade Commission if you are a victim of identity theft.

Opt Out
Cut unwanted mail by opting out of pre-screened credit offers for credit and insurance through this site shared by the major credit bureaus. Opting out bars the credit bureaus from sharing your contact and demographic information with marketers.

Free Credit Report 
Order your free annual credit reports. Twenty percent of credit reports contain errors. Make sure yours are right. 

Deal with Debt Collectors
Use sample letters from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ask a debt collector to provide more information about a debt, to dispute that you owe a debt or to leave you alone.

Dealing with Debt
The National Consumer Law Center offers advice on stopping debt harassment, how to deal with different types of debt and even has samples of dispute letters and debt charts for you to use.


Managing Money

New! Investment Plan
 Understand the risks before you invest.

New! Investor Background Check
 Use this tool to check the background and history of your investor before trusting them with your money.

Simple Ways to Save
The online calculator from lets you see how much money you can save just by brown bagging it.

Savings Plan
Use this online calculator from to establish a savings plan for your next big purchase.

Manage Your Spending
Use this worksheet from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help manage your spending habits.

 Planning for Retirement

Social Security
This calculator from the Social Security Administration lets you estimate what your benefits will be. 

Retirement Age
Use this tool from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to see how your age affects your retirement plan.

Auto Tips & Savings

Vehicle Recalls

Search to see if your car, or a vehicle you're planning to buy, needs safety recall-related repairs.

Fuel Economy

This tool from the U.S. Department of Energy tells you how much money fuel for your vehicle is costing you.

Residence & Housing

Find Affordable Housing
Use this online search from to find an affordable home to rent.

Mortgage Interest Rate 
See what the current interest rate is and how this and other factors can affect how much you will pay for your new home loan.

Housing Monthly Payment Worksheet
Use an online calculator from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to figure out how much home you can afford, including utilities and other expenses.

Research Contractors for Home Improvement Projects

Check out a contractor before you agree to sign a contract.  Find reviews and ratings for area contractors with this search tool.



College Scorecard
Before making your choice compare graduation rates, student population, cost and more with this tool from the U.S. Department of Education.

Compare College Costs
Compare financial aid offers and college costs with this tool from the Consumer Financial Protection bureau to see how college costs can impact your future .

Calculate the Cost of Your 529
Calculate the cost of your 529 plan to ensure that the majority of your invested money goes toward your educational goal and not the fees or expenses of your plan.

Couldn't find the right tool to help fix your problem?  Call our office at 216-443-7035 or e-mail us your question.

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.