March 2015

March 20th marked the spring equinox, and so the first day of spring! In this month's Innovative Connections, we give you a financial handbook for spring! We start you off with a reminder that if you don't have healthcare yet for 2015, it might not be to late. Next, do some spring cleaning on your credit reportFind out what the nearest community garden is, and what should you be planting in March and April. Finally, now that the weather is getting better, find some fun and inexpensive activities for your friends, your family, and your kids


All the best,

Innovative Changes

You can still get health care for 2015!


Did you miss the Open Enrollment Period for the Healthcare Marketplace? Did you have to pay the tax penalty for not having insurance in 2014? There is a special enrollment period from March 15- April 30th 2015 where you can apply and enroll in  healthcare on Don't miss out on this Special Enrollment Period because the 2015 tax penalty will be even higher!


Visit to see if you are eligible for the Special Enrollment Period!



Spring Clean your Credit!credit


by Ian Chrisholm & Rachel Stein


One of the most important things you can do is pay your bills on time and be mindful of the pros and cons of applying for and receiving credit. Paying your obligations will reflect positively on you when you apply for credit. However, sometimes we get into trouble with debt or have a personal crisis that prevents us from paying everything. If you have had credit issues and are ready to tackle them and move forward, read on for some tips on "spring cleaning" your credit!


A person's credit report is a vital aspect of their financial wellbeing. Credit reports include personal information such as your social security number, your previous home addresses, and various other personal data. The most important aspect of the credit report is a history of your credit transactions. This includes the use of credit cards, loan payments, and even applying for credit; your report includes a list of organizations that have inquired on your credit report, such as credit card companies and apartment rental companies. There are three credit bureaus or agencies: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. While many things will overlap, there may be different information on each report because not all creditors report to all 3 agencies. A person's credit report is used to illustrate their faithfulness as a borrower, which  is important when applying for a car loan, mortgage, and other lines of credit, and also when apartment hunting, obtaining a cell phone contract, and in some cases even applying for a job. That's why it is important to check your credit regularly and come up with a plan in case you find that your credit report is less than satisfactory; for example, you may have fallen behind on payments or defaulted on a loan. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which a person can repair their credit. Follow these steps to get started on "spring cleaning" your credit:


Read more tips on cleaning up your credit here!


Get your Garden Started!garden

by Stephanie Sampedro



Spring is quickly approaching so it's time to get your gardens ready! Whether you have a full garden in your backyards, planters on an apartment balcony or a plot in a community garden - everyone in Portland can start a garden. We have compiled a list of different vegetables and herbs to plant in March and April for you. You can get these seeds at a local nursery like Portland Nursery or look for starters now at any farmers market or nursery in town. If you can't plant at home, check out the link to Portland Parks, where you can view the community gardens with open plots and also fill out a garden plot request form online. Also, check Portland Monthly Magazine's list of different free and low cost gardening workshops in our area.  Happy planting!


Continue reading what to plant this time of year here!

Fun Activities for the Spring! activities

by Andrea Kerwin


Spring has finally come! It is always tempting to think that you need to spend money to have fun, but on these sunny days, there are plenty of free or low-cost activities. Here is a list of events that might be fun for you, your friends, and your family.


Continue reading about events here!

Upcoming Workshops & Orientationscb

The next Financial Household Resiliency workshops will be:


- Tuesdays 5:30-7:30pm 

-April 7th: Making Ends Meet

-April 14th: Budgeting and Savings

-April 21st: Hands On Banking

-April 28th: Building, Repairing, and Protecting Credit


All workshops take place at our office, 2010 Lloyd Center Mall.

You can register for the classes here.

Our next Credit Builder Orientations will be:



-Wednesday March 25th 5:30-6:30pm

-Friday April 3rd 1-2pm

-Friday April 10th 1-2pm

-Wednesday April 15th 5:30-6:30pm

-ESPANOL, miercoles 22 de abril 5:30-6:30pm



 All take place at our office, 2010 Lloyd Center.

Register here.

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