OK since we've been visiting and focusing on credit lately, I decided to get my affairs in order.
First of all I need to get my credit reports.
According to the Federal Trade Commission there is only 1 place to go to to get your free annual credit report.
It takes a few minutes but when you are done you will have all the information that 3 of the major credit bureaus have about you. Once you get it, review it and make corrections by writing the bureaus or following the instructions on their websites.
If you need more information about credit reports, the credit bureaus and pricing:
You also want to get your credit score. My favorite site is www.myfico.com
They charge money for the information but they deliver it to you in an easy to read format and also provide all sorts of calculators and other information.
If you want to wait until you clean up your credit to start paying for those types of services there are free alternatives.
One is Credit Karma. They provide you a credit score from TransUnion and they also provide a credit "report card".
Credit Report Cards
Another free tool is Credit.com's Credit Report Card. A nifty tool that also attempts to rate your credit based on the information pulled from the credit bureaus. It also provides you with an "estimated" credit score.
At first glance, there isn't a huge difference besides CreditKarma.com offering a free score from transunion. According to this article Credit Report Cards: Credit.com vs Credit Karma, Credit.com tends to be more accurate in terms of pure data. Check out both websites and see which ones appeal to you. I've been using Credit Karma for about a year and don't have any issues. I don't see a need to switch, but that's just me.
Since we are getting our affairs in order, you might as well sign up for Mint.com. A real easy way to track your finances, it includes some calculators and budget tools to help you see where you need improvement. Mint.com needs its own article and I will provide one in the future.