|2011 Christmas Ships and Winter Solstice Bonfire|
Saturday December 17th from 4p.m. to 6p.m. at Milwaukie Riverfront and Jefferson St. Boat Ramp. The Christmas ships are scheduled at 5p.m. to leave RiverPlace Marina and head to Lake Oswego, passing by Milwaukie around 5:30p.m. Admission if free, and you can purchase Hot Cocoa, Coffee, Hot Dogs and Desserts.
Free Sack Lunch Concert
The Old Church 1422 SW 11th Avenue
Every Wednesday starting at noon, free. For more information please click here.
Pioneer Place Holiday Performance Schedule
Sunday, December 18 - Dicken's Carolers 12pm - 2pm (strolling through Pioneer Place)
Children's Story time with Mrs. Claus 2:30pm - 3:30pm (in Santa's char)
Monday December 19th - Holiday Cooking Demonstration Ruth's Chris Steakhouse 12pm - 1pm (Atrium)
Tuesday, December 20th - Children's Story Time with Mrs. Clause 1pm - 2pm (in Santa's chair)
Wednesday, December 21st - Sugar Plum Elves 5:30pm - 6:30pm (Atruim)
For more details or to see a complete schedule of Holiday Performances click here.
Feast for Southeast
Thursday November 24th from 2:00pm - 4:00pm at Mt. Scott Community Center. Come attend or volunteer and meet your neighbors free.
For other Thanksgiving related events for today and this week, click here, offered up by Oregonlive.com.
|Stay tuned for our January Innovative Connections Issue on:|
Everything you need to know about TAX TIME!!
December is racing by. With the holidays and New Years just ahead, it will be 2012 before we know it! It's great to be able to enjoy the remaining weeks of 2011. This means thinking about what's important to you, setting up your priorities in tune with the rest of your household and then pin pointing ways that you can reduce holiday stress and maximize holiday fun. In this issue, we have also re-included our list of holiday resources. Check out the list for food, clothing and gift assistance.
Along with the holidays, comes seasonal change. Winter brings about its own slew of seasonal financial strains. Days are shorter, the air, colder and our energy bills go up. But as long as you are prepared, you can be in control of this! Keep reading to find out ways to winterize, equalize and save on your energy bill!
We also have two exciting seminars coming up in January and February. The first one will lead you through the ins and outs of being prepared for tax time, and the second one will give you the tools to pass on good money management habits to your children. In addition, our winter Financial Household Resiliency classes will start up again in February. See below for dates, times and details of our financial education workshops and seminars!
From all of us at Innovative Changes, we wish you and your household the best during this holiday season! We hope you continue to build healthy money management habits which lead to a new year of growth and stability! Come visit us in the new year!
Tip of the Month: Reduce Your Holiday Stress!
* 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.*
The holiday season is here. This can mean added stress in terms of your time, emotions and expenses. Take control of this stress by prioritizing what is important to you!
1. Make a list of everything you do on the holidays. Ex: buying presents, driving to your aunt's for dinner, going ice skating, etc.
2. Think about which activities stress you out, cost money, are enjoyable, etc.
3. Decide: is this activity a need, a want, both? Is there something I can do in place of this activity to make it cheaper? Is it worth doing this if it makes me stressed out? Am I doing this because of outside pressures or because I really want to?
4. Check in with your household to see their priorities too!
5. Adjust your schedule and spending to make your holidays more joyous for you!
| Resource Highlight: Stay in control of your energy bill!|
A tough part about sticking to a monthly budget is that things change from month to month. Unexpected expenses come up and monthly bills aren't always the same. One expense that increases around this time is heating costs. According to the 2010 Buildings Energy Data Book 45% of our energy costs are from space heating and 18% from water heating. U.S. Department of Energy notes that drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Whether you heat your house with electric or gas, your energy bill will inevitably be higher in the winter, but you can set limits to this increase! Here are some other ways to stay in control of your energy bill:
Energy Trust of Oregon is currently offering FREE Energy saver kits! Yes, Free! These kits come with: compact florescent light bulbs, an energy-saving showerhead and faucet aerato and a fridge recycling coupon. Sign up for one on their website today! https://energytrust.org/esaverkits/default.aspx
Community Energy Project also offers free weatherization workshops and kits for income qualifying families. In the workshops participants find out how to implement simple measures to lower home energy use and learn how to install effective weatherization materials in their homes using only basic tools such as scissors and screwdriver. Visit their site for a calendar of upcoming workshops near you! http://www.communityenergyproject.org/calendar.html
The Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program also provides weatherization and energy conservation services at no cost to households below 60 percent of Oregon statewide median income. Primary funding for the program is from the U.S. Department of Energy with other funds from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, utility companies and the Bonneville Power Administration. Visit their website for more info: http://www.ohcs.oregon.gov/OHCS/SOS_Low_Income_Weatherization_Assistance_Oregon.shtml
Sign Up for Equal Bill Pay:
Many energy providers have acknowledged how difficult it is to budget for fluctuating energy bills. In response to this, they created equal bill pay. Equal bill pay is a way of keeping your energy bills consistent throughout the year. The energy provider looks at your energy use history and takes an average of your bills for all seasons. This average becomes your monthly payment amount. In order to sign up for equal bill pay, your account must be current with no past due. Call you energy provider today to find out if they offer equal bill pay and how to enroll!
Do Simple Things:
- Wear more layers (and slippers too!) at home and turn down your thermostat
- Turn off heaters in unused rooms
- Turn down your thermostat during the night and when you're not home
- Clean out your gutters to prevent water from building up and freezing
- Seal all cracks and drafts around window and doors in your house
- Plastic your windows (it's a fun activity to do with kids!)
- If you have a chimney/fire place make sure your damper is closed when you're not using it
- Unplug appliances and electronics when you don't need them! The Department of Energy says that 40% of the electricity used for home electronics is used when they're turned off but still plugged in!
- Replace traditional holiday lights with LEDs and put them on timers. LED holiday lights can save up to 90%of the energy cost of traditional lights.
If you're in a bind:
Here are some places to look into for emergency energy assistance:
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program(LIHEAP) is a federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is not an entitlement program. LIEAP is an assistance program designed to help low-income households with home heating costs. 503-986-2000 TTY: 503-986-2100 http://www.oregon.gov/OHCS/SOS_Low_Income_Energy_Assistance_Oregon.shtml
- Multnomah County Energy Assistance Program, 503-988-3663
- Check on the website of the energy provider, often they will have assistance programs as well.
|Holiday Resources Galore!!
Since these are still applicable, we thought we'd leave these holiday resource listing in here again- you never know when they might come in handy!
To get even more listings for help during the holidays, please click on this link: Holiday Programs (INFO)
Holiday Food Boxes:
The Sunshine Division
Allen Temple Food Pantry
4214 Northeast 8th Avenue
Portland, OR 97211-3450
Radio Cab Foundation
It is a unique food program that provides families living in Greater Portland the essential ingredients - a Christmas turkey with all the fixings.
Winter Clothing Help
- Sunshine Division - Threadz - 503-823-2102
- Union Gospel Mission - www.ugmportland.org/thrift-store/ - Dollar Deals: designated clothing racks for clothing at $1 per item....also 50% off many items in the store.
Salvation Army: Christmas Intake/ food and Toy Distribution In order to receive assistance, families must sign up at one of the locations (dates and times listed below). Assistance is first come-first served at all locations. Families are asked to bring a Photo ID for all adults in the household, proof of address (in the form of a utility bill or rental agreement) and one of the following for the children: birth certificate, proof of school registration, school report card, or social security card. Families must also reside in the service area for The Corps.
For even more resources you can go to www.211info.org or call 211. All you have to do is dial 2-1-1, just like calling 411. The call is completely anonymous and secure, so none of the information you give over the phone will be given to any other agency.
By Misha Staggs
|Free (or low Cost) & Fun Holiday Events |
As soon as you've de-stressed, you can take in all the good things happening around the holiday season. By good things, we mean that there are lots of free, family friendly events occurring all over the city! Here is a list of some that we've picked out!:
Festival of Lights
The Grotto @ NE 85th and Sandy Boulevard
500,000 lights, 150 choral performances, petting zoo, carolers, puppet shows, and hot chocolate
November 25 - December 30 (closed Christmas day)
Go to www.thegrotto.org/Christmas for full details.
General Admission: $8,Children 3 - 12yrs: $4, 2 and under: Free
December 8th - 20th
Go to www.christmasships.org for viewing locations.
Winter Wonderland @ the Portland International Raceway
November 24th - December 25th
Sunday - Thursday, 5pm - 9pm
Friday & Saturday, 5pm - 11pm
Rates vary by mode of transportation.
For those of you walking or bicycling please check out the website for special event days.
For more details, please go to www.globaleventsgrouppdx.com.
Macy's Holiday Parade
The parade will begin promptly at 9 a.m. on the corner of NW Park and Davis. The parade will travel east on Davis to Broadway, south on Broadway to SW Alder, east on SW Alder (past Macy's) to SW 4th, north on SW 4th to NW Flanders, west on SW Flanders to NW Park Avenue. The parade lasts approximately one hour. Those wishing to secure curbside seating are encouraged to arrive early.
To see the full route go to http://www.oregonlive.com/performance/index.ssf/2011/11/holiday_events_guide_spontaneo.html
Holiday Tree Lightings
Stimson Lumber Tree Arrival | 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Come downtown to welcome the arrival of Portland's 75-foot tall Douglas Fir to Portland's Living Room. Festivities include a visit from Santa, seasonal songs performed by the Dickens Carolers and free hot chocolate!
Tree Lighting Ceremony presented by SmartPark, 11/25
5:30pm Be Merry at the Square! On the day after Thanksgiving, Portlanders will gather at the Square to celebrate the official start of the season by lighting the spectacular 75ft Tree provided by Stimson Lumber Company. This year's event will feature a holiday sing-a-long featuring Pink Martini, members of the Oregon Symphony, and the Pacific Youth Choir. With a big tree, lots of lights and a great community sing-a-long this is an event you won't want to miss!
Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square for both events.
See the side bar of events for more free holiday opportunities!
By Misha Staggs
Upcoming Financial Education:
In collaboration with Multnomah Library, we will be teaching several free workshops on planning out your holiday time to decrease stress! Also, right around the corner is tax time (warning: our next issue will be chock full of information on getting ready for tax time!), so we scheduled Here is the schedule:
Tax Time 101: Be Prepared!
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 5:30-6:30pm, Lloyd Center Mall, 3rd Floor, Suite 2011
Please join Maggie Starr of CASH Oregon, Rebecca Flanegan, tax attorney and tax site manager and Talia Kahn-Kravis of IC$ for an hour packed full of information to get you ready to do taxes and ensure you are making informed choices when you are filing for and receiving your refund. Topics will include: An overview of taxes and the mechanics of filing your taxes, available tax credits, what documents you will need when filing, where to do your taxes for free or low cost and how to stay in control of your paycheck, refund and expenses throughout the year!
Teaching Your Kids About Money
Tuesday, February 7th 2012, 6pm-7pm, Lloyd Center Mall, Suite 2011
One of the best gifts you can give your children is teaching them the skills to manage money. Passing on good money management habits is a concrete way that you can set your children up for a successful future; even if you are living on a tight budget. In this workshop we'll discuss key ways to get your finances in order so you can serve as a model for your children. We will also cover activities and tips for teaching your kids about money and ways to save for all the extra expenses that come with having a kid (back to school, birthdays, college, etc.). It's never too early to start learning and never too late to start teaching! Now's the time to start your kids on a path to success!
This seminars are $5. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify.
*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)-firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Financial Household Resiliency Workshops:
We will hold our winter round of FHR workshops every Wednesday from February 1st to February 22nd, 5:30-7:30pm.
Wednesday, February 1st, 5:30-730pm: Making Ends Meet
Wednesday, February 8th, 5:30-730pm: Budgeting and Saving
Wednesday, February 15th, 5:30-730pm: Hands-On Banking
Wednesday, February 22nd, 5:30-730pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit
Our classes and seminar will be held at our Lloyd Center office:
3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2011 Lloyd Center.
You can register online here or call or email Talia at (503)-email@example.com.
The classes and the seminar are open to everyone. The classes can be taken individually or as a series. They are $5 each and $15 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify.
| We Can ACH Your Loan Payments! |
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|Are 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 or 2011 Lloyd Center, Portland, OR 97232.
- 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-5pm and Saturdays by appointment (call Carmina).
- You can also pay via pay pal by following directions on our website here. Please note, it asks you to fill in a donation amount, but this is not a donation, it will go towards your loan payment.
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.