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Innovative Connections
July 2012: Building Positive Credit
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Tip of the Month: Get Your Schedule in the Groove
Landra's Back to School Budgeting Tips
Back to School Shopping Resources
Financial Education Galore!
We've Moved!
Sign up for ACH
For Our Borrowers
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Upcoming Events
Back to School Budgeting

*Wednesday, August 29th, Lloyd Center Mall, 3rd floor, Suite 2025 5:30-6:30pm. 


Tackling Student Debt

*Tuesday, September 25th, Suite 2010 6-7pm. 



Financial Empowerment Clinics

*Saturday September 15, 12-4pm, Midland Library

*Saturday, October 6th, 10-4, Portland Building


Financial Household Stability Workshops

*Every Tuesday, August 7-28 from 5:30-7:30, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall,

* Every Tuesday October 3-24 from 5:30-7:30, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall.

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Back to school time is approaching faster than some of us would like to register in our conscious. This means new teachers, new schedules, new clothes and supplies (the list can go on...). Whether you are the one going back to school or a family member, your household will need to prepare for the expenses and changes that school time brings. So, this month, we bring you tips, resources and even a seminar (on August 29th) on getting ready to go back to school. 


For some, back to school time can be hectic. Here at Innovative Changeswe like to think of September similarly to January 1st: just as you make New Years resolutions, September is a beginning that allows us to re-set, re-organize, plan ahead and think about our goals in the coming days, months or years. Think about your schedule, budget ahead for the school year and save money on back to school shopping


A great way to plan for the future is by attending one of our Financial Empowerment Clinics where you can meet with a financial planner for free and discuss things like retirement, wills, taxes or life planning. Our next financial empowerment clinic will be at the Midland Library on September 15th. If you miss that one, don't fret, there will be another one at the Portland Building on October 6th! We hope to see you there. Be sure to check out our other seminars and workshops here


Also, please note that we've moved. Read more  about our new location and New Columbia payment drop-offs here


We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer. Happy reading!

Innovative Changes

Tip of the Month: Get into the Groove of the School Schedulegasmileage                                 

 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.


calendar Summer is almost over and the new school year is almost here.  Now is the perfect time to prepare!  Here are a few tips to help you manage your time, set goals, and stay on track while adjusting new schedules. 


1.       GOALS:  Set realistic goals at the beginning of the school year, and break the large goals into mini-goals.  Write down your goals and put them in a highly visible place where you can see them every day.  Writing your goals down will make them more concrete, and motivate you to keep working towards them.


2.       DON'T RUSH:  Wake up early enough for school.  If you need 30 minutes to get ready for school, wake up 45 minutes before you have to leave.  To make sure you don't hit the snooze button on the alarm clock and go back to sleep, put it across the room.


3.       PREPARE YOUR WARDROBE:  Before you go to bed each night, choose and lay out your clothes for the next day.  This way, you'll be all set to dress and go in the morning.


4.       AVOID OVERLOAD:  Your child may sign up for extra school activities, such as basketball or cheerleading; don't take on too much.  First determine how much study time your child will need and transportation schedules.  Then, choose one or two recreational activities that your child will enjoy.


5.       USE ONE CALENDAR:  Use one calendar to plan all of the school and personal activities, rather than two or more calendars.  When you use more than one, you run the risk of scheduling conflicts and missed appointments.  It goes back to the old saying, "The man who wears two watches never knows the correct time".

These are just a few tips to help you adjust to the new schedule now that school is starting.


By Misha Staggs

Landra's Back to School Budgeting Tips!!one 


crafts Before you know it September will be here and school will be back in session. While many of you may be looking forward to getting the kiddos back on a regular routine, you may be dreading those unexpected costs that happen throughout the school year, right when you least expect them. Well have no fear, Innovative Changes has some great tips on how to cover some of those expenses.


Start saving. It could be either at a bank or a jar that sits right on the kitchen counter.  Everyone can contribute.  Mom and dad can commit to putting a certain amount in the jar.  Kids can contribute from money that has been given to them from birthday cards.


If the kids are old enough, they can collect bottles and cans or perhaps ask neighbors and family friends if there are any odd jobs they could do to earn money.  Allow your kids to put half of the money in the savings and the other half is theirs to spend as they wish.


Consignment shops are also great for clothes or items that your kids have outgrown. Go through everyone's closet and look for gently use things that have no use and sell them to consignment shops. Or you can open up an eBay account or perhaps have a yard sale.


Those unexpected expenses don't have to be so challenging. In fact, conquering this very common problem can teach everyone how to earn, and understand the value of money.  Last but certainly not least, solving money dilemmas could possibly bring the family closer as you all discuss this important topic that effects everyone's lives. 
Written by Landra Glover

Back to School Shopping Resources two


Pencils, rulers and notebooks mean it's time for back to school shopping.  The list can add up fast.  As your kids get ready for the school year, you can get ready with a few tips on how to save on back to school shopping.

  1. Shop at home first:  If last year's supplies are still in good shape, there's no reason to spend money on new ones.  You can make old supplies look new with stickers or doodles.
  2. Stick to your budget:  Let the kids know they have a budget for their school supplies.  Not only will this keep costs down but you can also teach them a thing or two about managing money.
  3. Check yard sales, garage sales, thrift shops or consignment shops:  Since these folks want to get rid of things, you should be able to bargain your way down to a pretty price.  You can find backpacks, lunch boxes, calculators and other supplies for cheap by being a smart thrift store shopper.  Find a Goodwill store near you.
  4. Compare prices:  You might be surprised to find the same item for half the price if you check other stores.  Shop around online and find the store's weekly ad book before you hit the shelves.
  5. Watch for back-to-school fliers and special deals:  As the school year nears, stores will begin offering deals on supplies.
  6. Create a school supply crate:  Think ahead and throughout the year, purchase supplies when they're on sale.  That way you'll have the basic supplies on hand at all times and won't have to scramble at the beginning of a school year, when back-to-school shopping is at its most hectic.  Buy cheap in bulk items to add to the box.
  7. Try a swap:  Trade in the clothing your kids have grown out of for back-to-school clothes that will fit.  You can join an online clothes swap community such as, and trade with other parents whose kids are either older or younger than yours.  You can also organize clothing, book and school supply swaps with other parents in your neighborhood or school.  It's a great way to get back-to-school supplies and get to know the other moms and dads in your community.
  8. Shop smart:  What's the point of buying a name brand just because it's a name brand?  Buy the cheaper, just as good generic brands.  Decorating notebooks and binders can be a fun way for your child to personalize their supplies if they feel self conscious about the way they look.  Also, make sure to buy sturdy backpacks and supplies that won't fall apart half way through the year. 
  9. Layaway is back:  Stores like Kmart now have layaway plans.  Fill your bag with the supplies you need, pay a little each week and before you know it, those supplies will be yours.

You can also check out the Portland Public Schools website for resources on school supplies and school clothes.  Or even contact your child's school to find out about any programs, such as Tools for School, for free or reduced cost school supplies.



By Misha Staggs

Financial Education Galorefined



Back to School Budgeting

Wednesday, August 29th, 2025 Lloyd Center Mall 5:30-6:30pm

If you are still craving more Back to School info and planning time, come to our seminar! 

Back to school time can be hectic. New routines, new teachers, new friends, new clothes: there is a lot of "new" to get used to. In this workshop on Back to School Budgeting we will go over tips and tools so that you can use the beginning of the school year as a time to reset, get organized and hone in on systems that will keep you and your household on track throughout the year. Budgeting is a key step to help you plan for unexpected expenses that come at the beginning, middle and end of the school year. Come to this workshop and start taking the steps that will lead to a more organized, prepared and enjoyable year!


Tackling Student Loan Debt

Tuesday, September 25th, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall 6-7pm

Are past student loans getting in the way of enjoying life? Do you have trouble keeping track of your debt? Come to this seminar and start taking steps to deal with student loan debt! In this workshop you 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.


Free Financial Empowerment Clinics: Save the dates!

September 15th 1-4pm at the Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave

October 6th 10am-4pm at the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Ave

Have a question about retirement planning? Creating a will or long term financial plan for your family? Have you ever wanted to meet with a financial planner but can't afford one? Come to a financial empowerment clinic. At these clinics you get the chance to sit down with a professional, discuss whatever you want and receive pro-bono advice with no strings attached! There will also be workshops on budgeting, credit and saving and resources on other community programs and services that you can take advantage of! These events are family friendly. Walk-ins welcome. Come for all, some, part of the time! We'd love to see you there!


No registration or fees required for seminars hosted at libraries. Please sign up for the Lloyd Center seminars and Financial Empowerment Clinics by calling or emailing Misha at (503)-249-5205/


Upcoming Financial Household Resiliency (FHR) Workshops:


August Financial Household Resiliency Series

Tuesday, August 21st 5:30-7:30 pm:  Hands-On Banking

Tuesday, August 28th 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit


October Financial Household Resiliency Series

Tuesday, October 2nd, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet

Tuesday, October 9th, 5:30-7:30 pm:   Budgeting and Saving 

Tuesday, October 17th 5:30-7:30 pm:  Hands-On Banking

Tuesday, October 23rd 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit


These classes will be held near our Lloyd Center office on the 3rd floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (between Nordstroms and the food court), 2025 Lloyd Center.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.  



To Register: visit our website or call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/  
We've Moved (Down the Hall)!three


Lloyd Center Office: We've finally moved into a more permanent location within the Lloyd Center Mall. Our new office suite is 2010. We are still on the third floor and just down the hall from our old office. Our new office is in between the food court and the Nordstroms. If you are facing the Nordstroms we are on the left hand side of the building.


New Columbia Payment Drop-Offs: Although Cheryl doesn't sit at the front desk of the New Columbia Opportunity Center anymore, she is still available to receive your loan payments. Her new desk is just across the street in the Guardian Management Office, 4605 N Trenton St. If you go into that office, just ask for Cheryl and she will issue you a receipt for your payment.


Suggestions? We want to make our new office as welcoming as possible. Do you have ideas of what you would like to see in our new office? Send Talia an email! We'd love to hear from you!


We Can ACH Your Loan Payments! ach                             

You can have IC$ automatically withdraw funds from your bank account to make your loan payment.This is called Automatic Clearing House (ACH) and is an electronic network that allows you to set up regular withdraws of your loan payments that gets sent to 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 Misha at 503.249-5205.

How to Make Your Loan Payment
  • You can mail your payment by check or money order to: Innovative Changes, 2010 Lloyd Center, Portland, OR 97232.
  • You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the Gaurdian Management Office, 4605 N Trenton, Mon- Fri, 8am-5pm    
    • Ask for Cheryl. She 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 us 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 2010 (2010 Lloyd Center Mall, Portland, OR 97232) Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm or drop it through our mail slot on other days/times. 
  • 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.