Our Meet a Mom this week is Karin Zannella, owner and founder of MoneyCubez and she is a mom on a mission! She believes that kids can impact the world if they dream big, but that it all starts with having good planning, saving, sharing and financial decision-making skills. She is a local mom of 3 adorable boys in the beach area, a shopper Marketing guru by day, CFO (Chief Family Officer) by night and a mom determined to help teach our kids the importance of financial literacy! Read more below about Karin’s story!
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in the area?
I am originally from Westbrook, CT. Went to college in Los Angeles and was living and working in NYC when I met my husband, Greg. We settled in Fairfield 8 years ago when I was 9 months pregnant with our first son.
Children / Age(s)
Greyson, 7, Maddex, 5, Parker 3
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I had big plans to be a Hollywood Director/Producer and went to college in LA to study Television Production. I also have 3 tattoos.
One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood?
How HARD and EXHAUSTING it is. How much wine and coffee I would consume? I really thought it was going to be easy which is just hilarious to me now.
Favorite local things to do in Fairfield?
We LOVE going to the beach and is one of the main reasons we live where we live. From May through September, you can find us at Penfield Beach (Lifeguard station #2) EVERY Sunday for dinner with friends and family. We look forward to our Sunday night beach dinners ALL week and ALL year long – Come join us in May 2020. We also love just riding our bikes around and being conned by the boys into hitting all the awesome ice cream shops in town. Lately, though, we can be found near any baseball field, hockey rink or birthday party venue.
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield?
EVERYTHING – our friends, the beach, the overall community, the schools, the number of women owned businesses and entrepreneurs that all support each other in extraordinary ways. I am obsessed with our town and will never leave. And the best part, I convinced my parents to retire here next year so we will have some extra support raising our 3 crazy boys.
Do you have a favorite family friendly restaurant? Date night?
Family – Blind Rhino and Flipside. The kids LOVE Local
Date Night – we “app hop” and hit up a handful of restaurants in one night – The Chelsea, Molto, 55 Wine Bar, Brick and Wood
What is your go-to activity for your family? For yourself?
Family – Beach, skiing, Family Game Nights, Bonfire Movie Nights, Sports, Sports, Sports, Sports
Myself – Sitting on a beach, alone. A girl can dream.
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
Hot Lunch, Frozen Food and my enormous color-coded calendar in the kitchen. I just can’t go digital yet when it comes to our family calendar.
Name one thing you regret when learning the ropes of parenthood and what you learned from it?
I regret falling into the initial new mom trap of thinking that I had to do everything like everyone else, be a mom like someone else, puree my own baby food and start reading to my one month old or all the other crazy things that people tell you have to do. Once I decided to do this mom thing on my own terms, how I wanted and what I knew what was best for our family, life got a whole lot easier. The pressure came off!
Tell us about your business, MoneyCubez, when & why you started, and the reason behind it?
I just launched MoneyCubez this September but had the idea for it over a year ago. MoneyCubez is a new, modern spin on the favorite childhood classic, the piggy bank! I wanted to make saving money fun while teaching our kids the value of a dollar/coin in a simple and affordable way. I created MoneyCubez after the realization that my own kids rarely ever see cash anymore with all the convenient digital money services (which I LOVE btw). I also wanted to create a bank that could grow with each kid and not just be a memento that collects dust on a shelf.
Each MoneyCubez comes with a personalized (initials, sports, animals, etc) and interchangeable MoneyDisc. As kids interests and room décor changes, they can change the look of their MoneyCube.
As I prepared to launch, I also realized that I had an opportunity to start an HONEST conversation about raising money smart kids. I want to share my stories about money, share how we handle money conversations with our kids and encourage parents to share theirs. Everyone is going to have a different approach so my hope is that we can all learn from each other and do this right before our kids start asking for their own debit card!
Why do you think teaching our kids about saving is such a great benefit? At what age do you think kids should start saving on their own?
It’s just one of life lessons that we all have to learn, right? I am a self-confessed spender and I am now trying to teach my kids that spending isn’t always the right thing to do, just because they want something. I think it’s important to teach kids, at a young age, the importance of money and what do with it when they get it. With all of today’s digital money conveniences, it is getting harder to show young kids about the importance of saving something that isn’t always tangible.
It’s never too early to start saving, it’s why every baby is gifted a “piggybank” and now a MoneyCube when they are born😊
Tell us more about giving back with GivingCubez?
MoneyCubez go beyond just teaching kids about saving money, they also teach the importance of giving money! All MoneyCubez come with the opportunity to create a GivingCube, another bank that will encourage your child to save money for others in need. Simply take the cardboard box that the MoneyCubez shipped in, let your child decorate it, tape it up, have them choose who they will save money for (maybe a charity, a family or a child in need). Parents can encourage kids to save by putting a portion of any money they receive or earn into their GivingCube.
As part of MoneyCubez’ philanthropic effort, we give $1 to start your child’s GivingCube with the purchase of every MoneyCube online. I am excited to see all the creative ways that families choose to give back with their GivingCube. This year, our family will be buying canned goods at Thanksgiving and donating to a local charity.
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and a family?
Hmmmm, that is a tough question because I really try not to give in to MOM GUILT. I have been extremely fortunate as a “working mom”. First of all, I have always wanted to work and love having a Corporate Marketing career as well as my various entrepreneurial side hustles. I have an amazingly supportive husband who is my true partner at home and with raising the boys. I have also been really lucky to work for great companies that allowed me to have flexibility from day one (almost 8 years ago). Because of that, I have yet to miss a holiday performance, walk-a-thon, conference, etc. My advice to moms is to find a company that respects you, your family and the importance of work/life balance. We are lucky to be having careers during a time when Corporate America is evolving to support today’s working moms AND dads. Things are changing and it’s amazing to be a part of it.
Who has most influenced you to be the mother that you are today?
Certainly, my mom, who is the best mom and Grammy ever. She is my best friend and created a home that allowed us to be ourselves, express ourselves, tell the truth and be accepted. My hope is that I create the same type of home where my boys know that they can tell us anything and know that we will support them. My mom was a stay at home mom, so I in terms of women who have inspired me from a “working mom” perspective, it’s all the working moms that I have worked with or for in the past and today. They paved the way and my mission is to pave the way for all the soon to be new moms that follow in my path. The best thing we can all do is advocate for each other in the office!
What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms?
Take a deep breath….and know that no matter what, you are doing a great job. At the end of the day, this month and this year, those kids love you and will someday appreciate everything you do/did for them. They don’t appreciate us now, but they will. I have to tell myself this every day especially after the countless loads of laundry, pee-soaked sheets, butt wipes, hours sitting at cold ice rinks, cooking them dinner 7x a week and yelling at them “to get their shoes and get in the car” a million times a day. Some day they will say thank you and we will forget all the bad stuff from these “good old days”.