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Innovative Connections
Resource Toolkit for September 2011
In This Issue
Tip of the Month: Conquer Procrastination!
Upcoming Career Fairs
Job Fair: Dos and Don'ts
Resource: Budgeting Tools
Upcoming Financial Education
Financial Planning Day is Coming Up!
Sign up for ACH
For Our Borrowers
Quick Links
Upcoming Events
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
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When looking at your budget, if your expenses and income don't match up, you only have two choices: cut your expenses or increase your income. In this issue of Innovative Connections, we explore the latter: increasing your income. Often easier said than done, this month we have sought out job fair listings in the Portland Metro Area and accompany these listings with a set of Job Fair Dos and Don'ts. In addition we urge you to continue fine-tuning your budget with the multitude of available budgeting resources and take advantage of our upcoming workshops and seminars, including our upcoming seminar on Student Loan Consolidation and Repayment Plans. Most importantly, our message is to be proactive! Avoid procrastination, and take necessary steps to manage your finances and keep organized!


Along those line, on the horizon is Financial Planning Day on October 22. We have been helping to plan this event, so we think it should be good. There will be financial planning professionals at hand, ready to give you free, sound advice on planning ahead! 


Happy reading,

Innovative Changes

Tip of the Month: Conquer Procrastination!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.* 



to do listDivide up the tasks that need to be done into smaller more manageable tasks. Try not to put anything on your to-do list that takes longer than 30 minutes to complete.


Set a realistic timeline to finish the work. Instead of having to clean and organize the entire house today, say you'll have your desk cleared off by 10am, and the trash taken out by 10:30am. Making the goals realistic and manageable can help avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed with one large project.


Track your progress. There is a greater sense of productivity when finished tasks can be checked off of a list. Instead of trying to get everything done all at once, aim for progress on a project, not perfection.


Designate an accountability partner and tell others about your goals. Let others motivate you to finish the tasks and help by asking you about your progress. Even a quick call to a friend or post on Facebook can help you stay on track.


Take the first step. The hardest part about procrastination is making the first move toward completing a task. Decide what your first move will be and create momentum with small steps. For instance, many loads of laundry might feel very overwhelming. But by taking a small step to get up, open a window and put music on in your workspace will help get you started in the right direction. 



Upcoming Career Fairsmainarticle

help wantedOne of the many ways to increase your livelihood is by increasing your income! Searching for a job can be a bit daunting, but one of the best ways to do it is by meeting employers in person. Here are some upcoming career fairs in the Portland metro area:


Hillsboro Job Fair

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

4 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Streets of Tanasbourne 

19350 NW Emma Way

Hillsboro, OR


Beaverton - Veterans Job and Benefit Fair

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Willow Creek Center

241 S.W. Edgeway Drive (near S.W. 185th and Baseline Rd)

Beaverton, OR 


HireLive Career Fair

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  

Embassy Suites Portland - Washington Sq.

9000 SW Washington Square Road

Tigard, OR 97223


Portland Career Fair 

Friday, December 2. 2011

11 a.m. - 2 p.m. 

Red Lion Hotel on the River

909 N. Hayden Island Dr.

Portland, OR 97217 


For career fair tips, be sure to read our "Job Fair: Dos and Don'ts" article. Aside from these career fairs, remember that seasonal job season is quickly approaching. Be sure to scour craigslist for those seasonal job opportunities! 

Job Fair: Dos and Don'tssecondarticle
Do your research before you go. Take a look over the list of companies who will be attending the fair and pick out your top choices to interview with. Coming prepared with good questions for the recruiters that show you've done your research is a sure way to impress them and land that interview.


Do update your resume and bring plenty of copies with you to the fair. After doing your research you can tailor your resume to best suit each position you desire to interview for, giving you an advantage over your competition. Also, it is very important to have a clean, uncluttered resume. You want your resume to be inviting to read and too much content or a confusing design may turn off the recruiter.

Do dress in formal business attire. You often only have a few minutes of a recruiter's time and by dressing in a conservative formal outfit, you are making it easier for them to see you in a position with their company. The good news is that a nice outfit for your job hunt doesn't need to break the bank. Don't worry about buying new designer clothes to make a good impression. All you need is an outfit that is fitted, clean, pressed, and doesn't show signs of being overly worn.


Don't forget to follow-up within 24 hours. Many will argue that the follow-up is the most important part of attending a job fair and will give you a giant edge over those who don't take the time to. Follow-ups are quick and easy, and all you need are a pack of thank you cards and a few stamps. Write your follow-up notes right when you get home from the fair, while everything is still fresh in your mind. The follow-up note is just a short message to thank the recruiter for their time, reiterate your interest in the position, and mention a little detail from your conversation. To make the biggest impact send out the note within 24 hours.

  • Don't forget to get a business card, from every recruiter you speak with, so you can send out your follow-ups.

Don't skimp on preparation. Be prepared with a one minute "elevator speech" that highlights your biggest strengths and the benefits you can offer the company. Practice saying your speech, until you are comfortable with it. If you take the time before you walk in the door to do your research and prepare you will be much more relaxed and confident. There is no rule that you can't have fun at job fairs. Don't forget to smile and be enthusiastic about the position you are pursing.

Resource: Budgeting Toolsspecialmonth


budgetingYou can increase your livelihood by decreasing your financial stress! Budgeting and tracking expenses in the first step towards financial stress management. Here are some budgeting tools that can help you do that:


Online Budgeting tools:


Mint and BillQ

 Mint and billQ have been some of our highlighted resources before, but we can't get enough of them! Mint securely links to you bank account and helps you budget by tracking your spending. BillQ tracks your bills and reminds you when they're due. Both are excellent online resources for personal finance!


Electric Checkbook

 Electric Checkbook is exactly what it sounds like: and online checkbook ledger! Instead of accumulating paper ledgers or losing them altogether, record your payments and deposits online. 



 Expensure is a more unique online budgeting tool; it's designed for multiple users. If you live with other people and share expenses, Expensure can help organize and keep track them. Repayments and Purchases keep track of what's been bought and who's paid each other back. Ran out of milk? Add it to the online Shopping List and the next person to go to the grocery store will know to pick it up!




 MoneyStrands is an online budgeting tool similar to Mint, but there are some key differences. Money strands incorporates a bill tracking feature, as if you were getting Mint and billQ all in one. You can manually input you expenses to MoneyStrands, which also allows you to track cash spending. One final feature that sets MoneyStrands apart is that it can be viewed in both English AND Spanish!



Non web-based tools:


The Envelope Method

The first step in using the envelope method is to create a budget! Each envelope represents a different budgeted item e.g. rent, utilities, bills, groceries, entertainment, etc. Once you have an idea of how much you spend or would like to spend in each category, you write that amount on the front of each envelope. When you get your paycheck, fill each envelope with the allotted amount. When it comes time to pay, use the appropriate envelope! Use the groceries envelope when you go grocery shopping, the entertainment envelope when you go to the movies, the rent envelope to pay rent, etc. You can spend money in each category until the money in that envelope runs out. When it does run out, you'll have to wait until the next month to refill the envelope. If you have money leftover in any of the envelopes, consider putting that money into savings!


The Money Order Method

 For fixed expenses, such as rent, car or insurance payments, some utility bills, etc., using money orders to help you budget can be very effective! When you receive your paycheck, simply purchase money orders for the fixed expenses you will have that month. This money will be effectively "pre-spent," so you won't run the risk of spending it before the payments are actually due. The leftover money you can use for your variable expenses for the month.


Excel templates:

Like to use a computer but would prefer a non web-based method? Use excel! Here are some templates to get you started:||



There are many other excel budgeting templates on the Microsoft Office website, these are just a few of the most highly rated. 

Upcoming Financial Education: fined 


No time like the present! Sign up for our Student Loan Consolidation and Repayment Plan seminar and Financial Household Resiliency workshops today! Here is the schedule:


Seminar: Student Loan Consolidation and Repayment Plans


Tuesday, October 25th 2011, 5:30-6:30pm

Lloyd Center Mall, 3rd Floor


In this workshop participants will learn how to take an inventory of outstanding student loans, keep student loans in good standing, and create a manageable plan for repayment. Other topics of interest will include: the consequences of student loan default, how to rehabilitate student loans that are in default, the Income Based Repayment plan and its benefits, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.


*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.


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 Planning Day is Coming Up!        specialevent                      

In today's uncertain economy, planning for you financial future is more important than ever.  If you have financial questions or concerns, or would like to learn how to better manage your finances, City of Portland invites you to Financial Planning Day, where you'll have an opportunity to receive free, personalized, confidential answers from professional financial planners.  The event will be held on Saturday, October 22 from 10am-4pm at the The Portland Building, 1120 SW Fifth, 2nd floor, Portland.


Financial Planning Day is organized by City of Portland in partnership with the Financial Planning Association, Innovative Changes and other community organizations, and is part of Financial Planning Days - a first-of-its-kind national initiative to provide free financial education and programming to people across the country.  Financial Planning Days was created by four national non-profit organizations - Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Financial Planning Association, Foundation for Financial Planning, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.


At the event, experts from the Financial Planning Association and highly qualified Certified Financial Planner™ professionals will be stationed at tables and will meet with you one-on-one to offer free personalized advice on a variety of financial topics, including - getting out of debt, retirement planning, investment strategies, tax issues, insurance, and estate planning, among many others.


There are no strings attached! All financial planners are participating as volunteers and they will not be selling products or services, or giving out business cards.  Come as you are, or come prepared with any financial paperwork related to your questions.  And, you can consult with as many different financial planners as you need.


Walk-ins are welcome, but admission will be granted first to those who have registered online  here or by calling toll free at 877-861-7826.  We expect a large crowd, so we encourage you to register early.


Find out more about who will be there and what workshops will be offered here.


And, check out this video to see what past participants have said about Financial Planning Day. We hope to see you there!

We Can Now ACH Your Loan Payments! ach                             

We now 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.