Making the Most of Tax Time
*Jan 8th- 2010 Lloyd Center, 5:30-6:30pm
*Friday, January 11th, 1-2pm, Northwest Library
*Saturday, January 23rd, 2-3pm, Belmont Library
January Financial Household Resiliency Series
*Tuesday, January 15th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet
*Tuesday, January 22nd, 5:30-7:30 pm: Budgeting and Saving
*Tuesday, January 29th 5:30-7:30 pm: Hands-On Banking
*Tuesday, February 5th 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit
|Stay tuned for our next Innovative Connections Issue on:|
|For Past Issues of Innovative Connections|
Here it comes, as we all expected but maybe a little faster than we thought: the holiday season! Soon Christmas jingles will be blasting 24/7 in every retail center (we can already hear them from our office in the Lloyd Center), kids will have time off from school and the rain will be more consistent. We have even started seeing stray Santas roaming outside of our office! Amidst all the hustle and bustle, one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself, is to think: what do the holidays really mean to me? Even though this is a simple question, it can be hard to peel back all the advertising, social pressures and other people's needs that surround the holidays, and distinguish your own. See our tip of the month to find out more about making the holidays a peaceful, rather than stressful time.
The holidays can be a time to step back from the daily grind and do things differently. Think about getting creative, spending time with love ones and making gifts at the same time (for tips see our DIY gift article)! And, take advantage of community resources- they are there for you, if you need them! And, as you take the holiday season by the reins (we have to say this) don't let the holidays side track you from your longer term goals. Maybe you want to go back to school? Check out our IDA program (we are having the last IDA orientation of the year soon!) or some of our classes. Also, here are some tips of how to remain financially aware even during times that you may be spending a little more than your usual budget calls for. Above all, enjoy yourself over these next few months!
Happy turkey day!
Tip of the Month: Make a Holiday Commitment to Yourself
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.
1. Make a list. What is important to you during the holidays? What stresses you out? What must you do? What do you wish you could do or not do?
2. Prioritize. Pick your top three most important holiday activities and make a plan so that you ensure they happen. Pick your least favorite holiday activities. Can you cut them out? Is there something you can do to make them less stressful?
3. Make a holiday commitment to yourself. The root of the holiday season, whether you celebrate a holiday or not, is experiencing joy in what you have or those around you. What is one thing you can do this year to ensure that you will enjoy yourself (without busting your budget) this holiday season?
4. Declare your holiday commitment to your household or family and friends. Get them to make a commitment too! Hold each other to it!
|Holiday Resources for You!
The winter holidays are quickly approaching and although it's supposed to be a time of joy it can also be a very stressful time, especially when it comes to gift giving. If you have children, providing them with a memorable holiday can push you close to the edge. With constant advertisements and the pressure of keeping up with the latest styles, "What is important," gets lost in the eggnog.
Innovative Changes believes that everyone should have a happy holiday, which is why we want to connect you with some great resources, in hopes that you and yours will have a jolly good time.
- Metro Church of Christ located 1525 NW Division St. Gresham, Oregon 97030. If you are looking for help during Thanksgiving they are taking calls now at 971-282-6832 they can also be reached at the same number for Christmas assistance starting December 1, 2012.
- St. Vincent De Paul located at 5120 Southeast Milwaukie. Currently families needing assistance for Thanksgiving can call 503-235-8431 and for Christmas they can be reached at 503-595-2292 or you can drop by, yet we highly recommend calling first.
- Free Thanksgiving Dinner - Proper presents Thanksgiving 2012 - North Portland community enhancement organization, PROPER, and non-profit soul food café, Po'Shines, are teaming up to host a free Thanksgiving Feed on Thursday, November 22nd, from noon to 4pm. The dinner is open to the greater community. It will be held at Celebration Tabernacle 8131 N. Denver (at N. Kilpatrick St.), 97217.
- Lift Urban Portland, 2701 NW Vaught St., Suite 102, Portland, OR 97210 - Holiday Services:All are welcome, walk-in, and it is complete Free for both events.
- Annual Thanksgiving dinner on November 22nd from 12pm - 2pm @ Trinity Episcopal 147 NW 19th Ave., Portland, OR 97209
- Christmas dinner will be held on December 25th from 12pm-2pm @ Congregation Beth Isreal 1927 NW Flanders St., Portland, OR 97209
- St. Philip Neri Parish, 2408 SE 16th Ave., Portland, OR 97214. They will be serving a Thanksgiving meal on November 22nd from 1130am - 1pm. Low income families and individuals are welcome and it is free.
Please keep in mind that for additional resources you can call 211!
Written and compiled by Landra Glover and Misha Staggs
|Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Gifts!
Here come the holidays! For many people, the season is a budget buster, but there is no need to go broke buying gifts when you can do-it-yourself (DIY) for less. A google search turned up tons of budget conscious ideas. Here are some of my favorites:
Book Safe: Select an old hardback book that has little value, like an out of date encyclopedia and is at least one inch thick. Open the book to page ten or so. On the right-hand side, use a ruler to drawer a rectangle. Using the ruler and a utility knife, cut a rectangle to a depth of at least 1/2 inch. Gently remove the cutout section of pages. Cut a piece of felt the size of the hole that remains. Apply a thin layer of rubber cement to to the bottom of the cutout hole. Press felt into the hole. Apply a thin layer of rubber cement to the interior sides of the hole. Leave the book open until rubber cement dries completely. Stash valuables in hole and close book.
Enclosed Terrarium: Select a lidded glass container. Place a layer of rocks along the inside bottom of the container. Add a dusting of charcoal. Add a layer of soil. Plant with cuttings or newly purchased plants. Add moss, if desired. Water. Close lid. Lavish with love.
Family Cookbook: I received one of these years ago and treasure it to this day. Solicit favorite recipes from family members. Print recipes. Place printed recipes in protective, prepunched, plastic sleeves purchased from the office/school supply section. Select a three ring binder. Place sleeves in a three ring binder.
This is a gift that keeps on giving generation after generation. Research recipient's family history. Print a fan shaped template here
. Start with the recipient in the "First Generation" spot, then fill in the recipient's ancestors names.
Felt Flower Crafts.
Fray free felt does not necessarily require a sewing machine!
Framed Portraits: If you have artistic ability, draw or paint a portrait of the recipient. If you are not artistic, frame a photo instead. Place picture in inexpensive frames purchased from resalers or discount retailers, or make your own felt flower frame above.
Mixed CD: Select a theme for your playlist (e.g. holiday, name, love, memories etc.). Keeping your theme in mind, select songs. Determine the order of the playlist. Create a title. Use permanent markers to write title, date, to/from and/or holiday greetings on CD.
Refrigerator Pen/Pencil Holder: Remove lid from metal band aid style, gum or mint tin. Paint or cover the front and sides of tin with fabric or paper. Attach magnet to back of tin. Insert writing instruments.
Tile Coasters: Select tiles and a stencil. For each tile, cut a piece of scrapbook paper to a size that is slightly narrower and shorter than tile. Paint the stencil on the paper. Attach the paper to the tile by sponging a decoupage glue onto the tile. Press stenciled
paper on to the top of the tile. Apply thin layer of decoupage glue to the top of the stenciled paper. Let dry. Apply spray sealant to stenciled tile. Let dry before reapplying a additional coats. Cut felt to fit the bottom of tile. Attach with hot glue.
for a basic recipe that you can personalize to suit the taste buds of the recipient. Yummy for the tummy!
by Elaine Lord
More Holiday Tips!
On Gift Giving:
- Develop a spending budget.
- Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for/everything you need to purchase for the holidays.
- Look for shopping deals.
- Avoid last-minute shopping. Shopping under stress can lead to more spending.
- Pay with cash when possible and spend wisely.
- Stick to your spending limit.
- Ask people what they want instead of searching for the perfect gift.
- Avoid the post-holiday debt hangover and don't overspend: Tally the receipts from all holiday expenses, including gifts, postage, meals, entertainment and decorations. Once you've completed your shopping list, stop shopping!
- Ask others to bring their favorite dish.
- Cook and freeze foods ahead of time.
- Think simple, and focus on the purpose of the get together.
- Do activities with family and friends that cost little or no money: go on walks, have a movie night instead of going to see the latest blockbuster together.
Avoid the holiday blues:
- Try not to associate the holidays with unresolved family issues or a painful childhood experience. Spend time with people who care about you. Do not isolate yourself. If you feel there is no one available, then reach out to others in need.
- Adjust your expectations. Expect a few bumps in the road at family events and gatherings and you'll be better able to deal with them.
- Be realistic. Just because it's the holidays, family issues/problems will not suddenly disappear and everything will not be perfect. Acknowledge your emotions, allow yourself some time to reflect on them, and be realistic about what you can expect out of the holidays so you don't feel let down.
- Alcohol, deserts and other vices may be more readily available during the holidays. Come up with a plan to limit/avoid your intake. Tell someone else to have them help you stay accountable to your plan.
- Get help if you need it. Talk to your doctor, a mental health professional, or religious leader or someone you trust.
Financial Education Galore
Time to start thinking about tax time! Come to one of our Making the Most of Tax Time seminars to get prepared and learn about the intricacies of taxes. Also, another Financial Household Resiliency series is on the horizon! Start the new year out right by gaining some useful financial skills!
Making the Most of Tax Time
Tuesday, January 8th, 5:30-630pm, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall
Friday, January 11th, 1-2pm, Northwest Library
Saturday, January 23rd, 2-3pm, Belmont Library
Tax time brings a window of opportunity. With the added boost to your budget from a tax return you can start paying off some debts that you've been worrying about, check off items from your wish list, or set up a savings account for your child's college education....the possibilities are endless! However, it's important to remember, even with this extra money, planning is key to using it effectively. We will cover topics such as the mechanics of getting a tax return, how to wisely budget and save your tax return, Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs), Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) and more!
January Financial Household Resiliency Series
Tuesday, January 15th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet
Tuesday, January 22nd, 5:30-7:30 pm: Budgeting and Saving
Tuesday, January 29th 5:30-7:30 pm: Hands-On Banking
Tuesday, February 5th 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit
These classes will be held at our Lloyd Center office on the 3rd floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (between Nordstroms and the food court), 2010 Lloyd Center.The classes can be taken individually or as a series. They are $5 each and $15 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify. To Register: visit our website or call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Going Back to School Just Got a Little Easier: Enroll in the IC$ Education IDA Today!
If you are interested in the IDA program, or know someone who may be interested, sign up for an IDA orientation today! The next orientation will be:
- THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6TH, 5:30-6:30PM.
The orientation will be held in 2010 LLOYD CENTER (on the 3rd floor between the food court and Nordstroms) and people can RSVP that they are coming by calling us at 503-249-5205 or emailing Misha, email@example.com.
For more information about the IDA program visit our website here.
The IC$ IDA program offers a 3:1 match for those saving to attend an institution of higher education. Savers must put at least $25 into an account every month, complete financial education requirements and plan to go back to school or already be attending school. Savers can save for themselves or a loved one.
|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 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.