A Tory councillor says he bought a £150,000 home at the age of 21 despite not receiving “a penny” from his family by living frugally with a “puritan mindset”.
Max Woodvine saved £800 a month during a six-month job at The Royal British Legion and combined with “minimal savings” he was able buy his property in Oldham, Greater Manchester.
He told other desperate homebuyers they should “go without things they enjoy” for a while and make “sacrifices” if they wanted to get on the ladder.
As his charity job has come to an end he currently lives off his £13,196 council allowance, but he said giving up day-to-day luxuries has helped keep him financially stable until he finds a new job.
Max, who represents Saddleworth South on Oldham Council, said: “I just think if people save up and just go without things they enjoy for a few months they could be better off for it.
“And then if they do manage to find a house within reason, considering you can get five per cent mortgages now, if they can find something that they can afford, even if it’s not perfect – the mortgage payments after you’ve moved in are significantly less than what most people pay in renting. It is worth making sacrifices, I think anyway.”
Max said while employed in his £23,000 job with the Royal British Legion, from November 2021 to May 2022, he’d saved “on average” £800 pounds a month.
He had then combined this with “minimal savings” and a “puritan” mindset to afford the £15,000 deposit on his house, while giving his mum rent money and paying for car insurance. He claims he “didn’t get a penny” from his family.
He said: “I very rarely go out – I go out for a meal, but I don’t go out on lavish evenings like some people do, and I don’t buy designer clothes.
“I’m like a puritan really – well, not really. I just like going to the pub and having a few pints.”
But he added: “What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for somebody else.”
When Max was elected to the local council in May this year, he got a basic allowance of £10,151 and a special allowance of £3,045 for being in the shadow cabinet.
But he admitted that he didn’t have to work hard for the extra money, saying: “It’s good because we don’t do anything – there’s nothing to do as shadow cabinet members.”
Since leaving his position with the Royal British Legion, Max said he had been applying for new jobs but “none of them seem to be working out”.
And while he had attempted to get a job with the Royal Mail recently, he said he’d been turned down as he “did not meet the criteria” to be a postman.
Max said he hoped to get another full-time job soon, which he could combine with his current councillor salary, as this was a good way to boost his income.
He said: “It’s nice when you combine the salary with the council allowance – if you were doing it, you might still struggle if you were renting or something and want to live your life as well.
“But when you get the council allowance, you’re quite lucky because you’ve got extra money there – you can think, ‘well, I can either save that or I can spend that or not.”
However, Max encountered the wrath of local residents on social media, who branded his comments “absolutely disgusting”.
One wrote: “I am really tired of pompous righteous people and their opinions! I so wish they where all made to live a day in the life of robbing Peter to pay Paul to show them exactly what they should cut back in, especially when we have parents are choosing between cooking or heating!
Another added: “When many in Oldham are genuinely struggling with the rising costs of food, energy and rent, it seems particularly tone deaf of Councillor Woodvine to suggest they can save for a deposit if they just stop buying things they like.”
And a third said: “I hope his pathetic statement comes back and bites him in his arse, does anyone know if he’s donating any of his money to a charity?”
But some did agreed with Max’s strategy, and said they’d also had success with their savings by cutting out luxuries.
One wrote: “I totally agree with you max. We did without holidays, didn’t go out too much & saved as much as we could, then had the deposit.
“People won’t do without the latest gadget, mobile phone, iPads & TV programs. Its the same with food, we eat too much and our nation is getting bigger & bigger, so eat less. When times are hard then curb the spending! Rant over.”