Innovative Change$ Email Header
Innovative Connections
Resource Toolkit for August 2011
In This Issue
Tip of the Month: De-clutter your life!
Back-To-School Shopping Tips
Healthy Kids Health Insurance
Innovative Advice
Planning for College
Upcoming Financial Education
Sign up for ACH
For Our Borrowers
Quick Links
Upcoming Events
Foreclosure Prevention and Resource Meeting

*Wednesday, August 17th


Baltzar Ortiz Community Center
6736 NE Killingsworth St.
Portland, 97218

For more information click here

Financial Household


*Day 1: Saturday, October 8th    

Part 1: Making Ends Meet, 10am-12pm

Part 2: Budgeting and Saving, 12:30pm-2:30pm


*Day 2: Saturday, October 15th 

Part 3: Hands-On Banking, 10am-12pm   

Part 4: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit, 12:30pm-2:30pm


3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2011 Lloyd Center, Portland

 *For more info or to register go here


Financial Household Resiliency Workshops - In Spanish! 


*Every Thursday from October 6th to October 27th



Hacienda's Community Center Salon Comunal  6856 NE Killingsworth

Portland, OR 97218


Contact Norma to register:  

(503) 737-7672 

Join Our Mailing List

Summer is coming to an end and it's time for the kids to head back to school. Getting ready for the start of school can be stressful, so we've included some back-to-school shopping tips to help you budget and save money.Back-to-school season can also be a good time to re-group and get organized! Documents and mail can pile up, so take some time to de-clutter your life. Also included in this issue are some helpful steps to take when you're planning for college.  


Once the kids are back in school, think about coming to one of our workshops! In addition to our regular Financial Household Resiliency Workshops, this October we will be offering workshops in Spanish and English!    


We hope you had an excellent summer and have a great back-to-school season!


Happy reading,

Innovative Changes

Tip of the Month: De-clutter Your Life!tipofthemonth


* Send us your tips! Each month we will collect your innovative money management tips -- these could be about resourceful ways you've saved money, thrifty activities you enjoy, helpful 
insights into living on a tight budget, etc. We will enter these tips into a pool and if selected, your tip will be featured in the next Innovative Connections and you will win a $20.00 Fred Meyer gift card.* 

paper shredder
Have too many papers lying around? It can be overwhelming when mail, receipts, and other documents start to pile up and you don't know what to do with them! What do you save and what do you throw out? Here are some helpful guidelines on what to keep and for how long:


Keep for 1 Month

  • Credit card receipts (after you've check them against your statement)
  • Withdrawal and deposit slips (get rid of them after you've checked them against your monthly statement)
  • Sales receipts for minor purchases 

Keep for 1 Year

  • Paycheck stubs (after they are reconciled with your annual W-2 or 1099 tax forms)
  • Mortgage statements
  • Phone and utility bills
  • Monthly bank, credit card, and retirement account statements 

Keep for 7 years

  • W-2 and 1099 forms (taxes)
  • Year end statements from credit card companies
  • Phone and utility bills if you deduct any portion for business or have moved within the past few years
  • Cancelled checks and receipts/statements for: deductable business expenses, child-care bbills, out of pocket medical costs, or any other tax-deductable expense 

Keep Indefinitely

  • Tax returns
  • Real estate and residence records
  • Receipts for major purchases
  • Wills and trusts
  • Year-end summaries from financial service companies
  • Confirmation slips listing the purchase price of any investments you own  

Be sure to shred any documents with personal information on them (social security number, name and birth date, etc.) that you throw out!


Junk mail can be a huge nuisance and makes locating important documents in the mail more difficult. The average person gets over 675 pieces of junk mail a year! Here are some steps you can take to reduce the amount of wasted papers in your mailbox:

  • Go to and ask to be taken off their mailing list
  • Call the credit bureaus at 1-888-567-8688 to remove yourself from credit card offers
  • Contact the businesses directly that are sending you junk mail to unsubscribe from their lists
Back-To-School Shopping Tipsmainarticle

backtoschoolThe first day of school is quickly approaching and you know what that means: it's back-to-school shopping season! Clothing and supplies can add up easily, so here are some savings tips:  


Make a list of all the supplies and clothes you need. You can use this list to help you (and your child) separate wants from needs. This will help avoid unnecessary purchases!


Have a back-to-school budget. Giving yourself a limit on how much can be spent will help you prioritize your shopping needs and will encourage you to hunt for bargains. A budget can also help your child make those hard shopping choices too! If your child knows there is a budget ahead of time, he or she will be less upset when something isn't affordable.


Watch for back-to-school sales/promotions. Don't pay more than you have to for those necessary items!


Shop at Goodwill and other thrift stores.Basic clothing items never go out of style and you can often find the lowest prices for them at thrift and secondhand stores.


Reuse supplies from last year. Did some notebooks or pencils go unused? Still have that ruler or calculator lying around? No need to buy new ones if you already have them!


Don't splurge on brand names. Many basic supplies are exactly the same no matter what brand you buy. Unless you know a certain brand is better quality and worth the extra money, buy the less expensive brands.


Buy things in bulk. If you know your kid needs the same items every year, or uses many throughout the year, buy those items in bulk so you'll save in the long run.


Wait to shop for clothes until after school starts. Some of the biggest sales happen on or after Labor Day weekend and it usually stays warm through September. No need to rush and buy the new fall styles when your child will still be wearing summer clothing.


Remember, back-to-school shopping can be affordable and fun!

Resource: Healthy Kids Health Insurancespecialmonth


Healthy Kids is a health coverage program for uninsured kids and teens in Oregon. Don't let your kids go uninsured! Based on income and family size, there are three options: no-cost, low-cost, and full-cost. Each option has a sliding scale for monthly fees. No family makes too much for Health Kids!


Healthy Kids coverage includes:

  • Doctors visits and preventative care
  • Medical, dental, and vision care
  • Prescriptions and durable medical equipment
  • Mental health and chemical dependency services

To be eligible for health coverage, the child must be under 19 years old, live in Oregon, be a legal resident, and have been without health insurance for 2 months (though exceptions exist). After enrollment, coverage lasts one year and is renewable as long as the child remains eligible. No child is put on a waiting list or turned away due to a pre-existing condition!


For more information, or to apply, you can access the Healthy Kids website at:


OR you can contact Rachel Gilmer, the Healthy Kids Coordinator at the Urban League of Portland:  503-280-2600 ext. 630 or 

Innovative Advice with Progressive Planner

* Every month we answer a question or give advice based on a scenario that someone sends us. If you would like financial advice on something you're facing in your life, email Talia at or call her at 503.249.5205. All situations and questions will be kept anonymous.*


Dear Progressive Planner,


This summer has been very hectic with the kids at home and it's been difficult to stay within my budget! Now that school is starting soon I'll have to buy school supplies and new clothes. Before you know it Christmas will be around the corner, which will mean more spending! This is all getting a bit overwhelming and I'm worried I'll start spending too much. What should I do?


Baffled Budgeter



Dear Baffled Budgeter,


Take a deep breath! A little planning can reduce the stress you're feeling about the upcoming months. Now is a good time to sit down and go over your budget again. Re-familiarize yourself with it and make sure it's realistic! Has your income changed? Have prices gone up or down (e.g. gas)? Are your spending habits the same? This would be a great time to make any necessary adjustments.


As for the upcoming back-to-school shopping season, this is something you can plan ahead for. Make a list of the supplies and clothes that your kids will need for the fall and give yourself a budget for these items. Track sales and find the best deals ahead of time so you don't pay more than you have to. Consider shopping at thrift stores to save money on clothing! Also, since September is usually warm, think about waiting until after school starts to shop for clothes. These are when the best deals can be found! When you do decide to make purchases, take your list with you to discourage any impulse buying. Planning your purchases makes it much easier to stay within your budget!


Even though the holiday season is quite a few months away, you can start planning now! Begin putting some money away every month to use towards presents. That extra money will make life easier when December rolls around and will give you some peace of mind!


Good luck!


Progressive Planner


Planning for Collegesecondarticle

collegeIt's about that time again. Soon leaves will be changing colors, temperatures will be getting cooler, and children will head back for another school year. For anyone who has been daydreaming about one day hitting the books again themselves, now is the time to start planning for the 2012-2013 school year. Going back to school is possible for everyone and it's important to start taking action early. Financial planning for college can be a daunting task; but if you take a little time now to prepare and learn about the process, come time to fill out your college applications you will feel confident with your new plan to fund your education. We've put together some helpful tips and resources to set the wheels in motion for your back-to-school debut!

Create a budget (now). It's important to know where your money goes every month. Prepare a budget that will help you manage your bills and expenses and compare what you spend month-to-month. Figure out which expenses are necessities and what can be cut out to put towards your education fund.

Contact our office to schedule your one-on-one coaching session to establish your goals and create the budget to get you there!

Submit your FAFSA before March 2012. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your opportunity to receive some of the billions of dollars that have been set aside to help college students pay for their education. Additionally, local colleges use this information to determine your eligibility for many of their grants and scholarships. It's important to remember that this application must be submitted before March to ensure you will be considered for these local grant and scholarship opportunities. That deadline will sneak up before you know it!



  • Complete your income taxes as soon as possible; that information is necessary to complete the FAFSA.
  • To submit the form online you will need a PIN number, which you can apply for on the FAFSA website:  

Making Sense of Financial Aid

Grants: Money that will never need to be repaid and is given out based on financial need. The federal government provides two major grants: the Pell Grant and the FSEOG. Your eligibility for these is determined by the FAFSA.

Scholarships: Similar to grants, this money will not need to be repaid but may be based on other factors than financial need such as: academic ability, race, profession, etc.. Make an appointment to meet with your chosen college's Financial Aid office now to get help finding the scholarships that are the best fit for you.  



  • To learn more about the local Oregon grants and public and private scholarships opportunities go to
  • Make an appointment to meet with your chosen college's Financial Aid office now, to get help finding the scholarships that are the best fit for you.
Loans: Borrowed money that you must pay back with interest. Not all loans are created equal.


  • Education (Federal) loans: Stafford and Perkins loans come with lower interest rates.  In some cases, these loans may be subsidized by the government, meaning they'll pick up the interest on the loans while you're in school. Nice! 

To learn more about federal student loans check out:

  • Individual Development Accounts (IDAs):  Savings accounts that will match the contributions of low-income individuals. For each dollar contributed to the IDA, the individual will receive a corresponding match, which helps give the saver an incentive for further saving. IDAs can be used for going back to school, buying a house, or starting a business.
  • Private loans: Generally come with the highest interest rates and are used for costs not covered by grants, scholarships, federal loans, or IDAs.

Upcoming Financial Education: fined 


It's a bit far in advance, but never to early to sign up! Our fall Financial Household Resiliency series is just around the corner! Here is the schedule:


Collections Seminar


Tuesday, September 13th, 5:30-6:30pm


Baffled by the world of collections? Do you get frequent calls from collectors and not know how to deal with them? Interested in finding out what your rights are as a debtor? Come to our seminar that will break down the often haunting world of collections. Learn what collectors are allowed and not allowed to do, how to work with collections strategically and more about the system of collections in general.


*These seminars are part of our ongoing monthly seminar series covering special topics of interest to our clients. For more information about our seminar visit our website here.


The seminar will be held at our Lloyd Center Office:  

3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2201 Lloyd Center, Portland


To Register: call or email Talia at (503)-249-5205 or


Financial Household Resiliency Workshops:



Day 1: Saturday, October 8 

Part 1: Making Ends Meet, 10am-12pm

Part 2: Budgeting and Saving, 12:30pm-2:30pm     


Day 2: Saturday, October 15 

Part 3: Hands-On Banking, 10am-12pm   

Part 4: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit, 12:30pm-2:30pm 


Our classes and seminars will be held at our new location:  

3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2201 Lloyd Center, Portland


To Register: call or email Talia at (503)-943-5620/ 


The classes and seminars are $5 each or $15 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify. 


Financial Household Resiliency Workshops in Spanish!


*Every Thursday from October 6th to October 27th from 4pm-6pm


These classes will be held at Hacienda's Community Center Salon Comunal 6856 NE Killingsworth, Portland, OR 97218.


Please contact Norma to register or for more information:

(503) 737-7672 or 

We Can Now ACH Your Loan Payments! ach                             

On July 1st, 2011 we will have the ability to automatically

withdraw funds from your account to make your loan payment for you.This is called Automatic Clearing House (ACH) and is an electronic network that allows us to direct deposit your loan payments into our account. If you would like to sign up for this, please fill out the form on attached here and send or fax it back to us (please do not email for security reasons). ACH is a good idea if you have a bank account and a reliable balance in your account on your monthly loan due date. If this does not fit you, ACH is not the best option.  If you have any questions, as always, feel free to give us a call: 503-249-5205.

For Our Borrowers

Money treeAre You Receiving Your Payment Reminders?

If you chose to receive your payment reminders by email, make sure that they are coming to your inbox and not your junk mail. If you would like to change the way that you receive reminders (by mail, by email, or by phone call) let us know! Call Talia at  or Carmina at 503.249-5205.

How to Make Your Loan Payment
  • You can mail your payment by check or money order to: Innovative Changes, 4610 N. Trenton St., Portland, OR 97203
  • You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the New Columbia Opportunity Center Front Desk- Mon- Fri, 8am-5pm 
    • Please note the building is closed to the public during the lunch hour (12pm-1pm) and is occasionally closed on Fridays for State furlough days.   
    • The front desk person has envelopes and is authorized to collect payments on our behalf if we are not in. If you are paying in cash and need change, you must contact Sarah, Carmina or Talia in advance to arrange a meeting time.    
  • You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the Lloyd Center, 3rd Floor, Suite 2011 (2011 Lloyd Center Mall, Portland, OR 97232) Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm and Saturdays by appointment (call Carmina).             

We Are Here to Help!  


Are you having trouble making your payment this month, or afraid that it might be a little late? Let us know! We understand that unexpected events and expenses can make it hard to keep your finances on track, and Innovative Changes wants to be there for you in such cases. Innovative Changes is flexible and willing to work with our borrowers to satisfy loan obligations, and in return we ask for honest and timely communication. Remember, if you know your payment is going to be late, let us know ahead of time and we might be able to avoid charging a late fee, or sending out a late notice.