Parenting and Education | People and Places
Wife Swap mum switches city lifestyle for budget-focused living
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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Did you watch Season 2 of Wife Swap Australia on Channel 7 this time round? Then you’ll know all about Frankston resident Penina Petersen and her family’s obsession with budgeting and running a tight ship.

Blogger and author Penina and her home-restoration husband Richard said goodbye to city living about 17 years ago. Now hunkered down in Greater Frankston with their kids Saxon and Coco, Penina couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be part of Seven’s Wife Swap Australia when it came calling.

Penina explains: “I’ve always wanted to be part of a reality television show and thought ‘Hey, it will be fun to have a new husband for a week’. It’s the kind of experience you can’t buy, so I said yes immediately. It’s funny really because I went on the show to have a good time, but viewers saw me as obsessive and completely rigid. I am incredibly organised and look to save in any way I can to increase our family’s financial security. I love having a clean house that is completely organised too, but we do have fun as well.”

Penina continues: “The reason we left the city and I wrote my first book Table Tucker, published in 2008, was because my husband and I got into some serious debt in our early 30s. We learnt our lesson early on and have tried to turn adversity into something positive. Wife Swap Australia has been life-changing in so many ways. The kids had a great time on the show and were very comfortable. They are used to film crews coming through the house because I’ve done lots of interviews regarding my work as a blogger. My next book, Dollar Dinners, which is to be released soon, is an annual bulk cooking book which takes saving on your shop to the next level. It also focuses on an eco-smart lifestyle.”

Penina, who began writing as a child, has been a savings blogger for about 10 years and is keen to see where the next part of her savings journey will take her. Yes, she refuses to stop using colour-coded systems around the house, buying in bulk and freezing a month’s worth of sandwiches for school lunches at a time, but Wife Swap Australia has taught her to let down her hair just a little bit.

She concludes: “Kellie Cowles, the other mum on the show, did teach me to enjoy a bit more downtime. It’s not as if all we do is tidy up and organise. My husband gardens, I write, play guitar and take photos, and the kids follow in our footsteps. We love going to the beach and have a huge backyard where we grow vegetables, so we always have something to do.”

The Petersens may be cleaning fanatics obsessed with routine, but Penina and Richard are mortgage-free and are feeling pretty good about their financial future. Tune in to Wife Swap on 7Plus to see how they do it.


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