Every year, Kris and I place an order with the Federal Citizen Information Center in Pueblo, Colorado. The FCIC is a small department in the United States government with a mission to distribute free and low-cost Federal consumer publications. In other words, it’s a government office that offers lots of free (and cheap) pamphlets about all sorts of cool stuff. Many of these publications are freely availabe online in electronic format.

Here are just a handful of the FCIC’s financial publications:

  • Protecting Yourself from Overdraft and Bounced Check Fees ($1, or free online)
  • Building a Better Credit Report ($1, or free online)
  • An Introduction to Mutual Funds (free, and free online)
  • Top 10 Ways to Beat the Clock and Prepare for Retirement (free, and free online)

Just this morning I visited the site for a non-financial publication on sports injuries. (I’ve managed to hurt my left thigh by running downhill with bad form. Ugh.)

When Kris and I placed our last order with the Federal Citizen Information Center, we picked up a copy of the free 2008 Consumer Action Handbook, a 174-page guide to becoming a savvy consumer. The 2008 Consumer Action Handbook includes information on buying a car, purchasing a home, preventing identity theft, shopping from home, creating a will, and handling unsatisfactory transactions. It actually contains much, much more.

This book would be a good buy at $10 or $15, but it’s freely available from the U.S. government. (Technically you’ve already paid for it with your tax dollars, of course.)

This book is a great resource, and I encourage you to order a copy, download the PDF, or bookmark the web site. Though the 2008 Consumer Action Handbook doesn’t go into great depth on any subject, it provides excellent informative overviews, and it usually points to further resources. It’s perfectly at home on the shelf with all of my other personal finance books.

This article is about Basics, Books, Money Hacks, Shopping, Tools