The Bean Jar Method (and a freezer paper DIY!)

 

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I’ve been on a bit of a cleaning post kick lately, so I thought we could talk about kids and chores. Did you get an allowance growing up? I’ve learned that kids need incentives in their lives (well, don’t we all?). We’ve been using beans as an incentive/accountability tool for a couple months now and I love it.
We keep dried pinto beans in this old jar on the counter and every night the girls pull out their bean baggies and we square away our accounts.
The general idea is every bean is worth a penny. Every chore the girls do each day is worth a bean, and we also give and take away beans for their actions. Like fighting/yelling/not sharing results in the loss of a bean or two. Sometimes I’m feeling generous and will offer them 10 beans each to make the trip to the grocery store easy! It works every time. :)
The girls count their beans all the time (another bonus! Math practice!) and when they have earned a few dollars, we go to the toy store (i.e. heaven on earth). It’s so fun to see that the new toys they earned and budgeted for mean more to them. I feel like they have a better understanding of and appreciation for money now.
We’ve been keeping their beans just in little baggies, but I’m committed to the program now, so we upgraded to these cheapie little coin purses from H&M that I personalized with their monograms.
It’s a super easy DIY. I just typed their initials into Word (Futura font at 165 pxls) and lightly taped a small piece of freezer paper on to my computer screen. I also bumped up the brightness on my screen so there was lots of contrast.
I softly traced the edges of the letters and then cut the letters out on a cutting board with an Xacto knife. Here’s a little tip for cutting anything out with an Xacto knife – pull, don’t push the blade. You’ll have much more control of your line if you’re pulling down all the time, so move your project around so that you’re always pulling the blade down.
Next, you just layer a dish towel on top of the freezer paper (wax side down on the purse) and iron until the freezer paper is secured on the purse.
I used a regular paint brush and some gold latex paint to dab on the letters. I did about three coats of paint with a bit of drying time between each coat. Try hard to keep the paint smooth and even, but don’t push the paint down too hard. It will get in under the edges of the paper if you’re too agressive.
While the third paint layer was still wet I peeled off the freezer paper.
Ta-da! Personalized bean purse! I also switched out the old zipper pull for a mini gold/black leather tassle I whipped up while the last coat of paint was drying.
The girls love our Bean Jar method – it’s sort of incredible actually how well they have responded to it! – and they were extra excited when we worked on these purses together. It makes the whole idea more special to them. Claire sleeps with her bean purse under her pillow. And I think they’re so cute I might actually make one for myself. Lipstick holder maybe?
Do you have a method for getting your children to happily help around the house?
  1. I love this! And during a super frustrating dinner last night I pulled out an apothecary jar and 2 bags of white beans from my cupboard. We are doing it! My kids won't be as stylish as your kids yet though :)

  2. Cool purse. It is so pretty and easy to customize! I really love the Bean-Jar method the you shared. Thanks!

  3. Elle

    That was pure inspiration!Love it!

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