October 2019 Report

Rain and busyness at work were the key themes of this month; but there is joy in everything if you wish to look for it. Being busy at work meant the days in the office went faster and because I was looking for a distraction in the evenings I managed to dedicate more time to side income and working on this blog. Total savings this month:

  • ISA: £1,800
  • Regular savings: £550

This brings the total up to £46,500 which is approximately 23% of my otium fund target.

Side Income

Unfortunately matched betting this month wasn’t very fruitful and I only managed to make £90 in total. I did 70 casino offers totalling about £350 EV, and just over £100 of sports offers. The sports offers counteracted my losses – I was in negative territory for a while but managed to mostly pull it back.

Casino Offers – October Profit and EV

This brings me to around £8,075 for the year so far, only £2,000 below my target of £10,000. I’ve come close but although it’s now looking unlikely that I’ll hit this target, I’m still over the moon with the progress.

If you are interested in trying matched betting then I can recommend Profit Accumulator. They are great at explaining how to start and even offer a free trial. Please note this is an affiliate link.

Tax refund

It’s not every day you get a tax refund, but I received one this month to the tune of £1,100. This is very welcome at this time of year but instead of spending it, I’m forwarding it all straight into my investing accounts.

Overtime

As mentioned I’ve been quite busy at work and this has resulted expected overtime payments of around £200. This was the first time I’ve been able to work overtime in this job and there probably won’t be many more so I tried to make the most of it without wearing myself out.

Other Business

I’m a firm believer in investing in your yourself and I very much include my appearance in this bracket. It’s worth buying good quality clothes as they increase your confidence and they tend to last longer too. I’ve been exploring charity shops lately and I’ve been amazed at what you can find – when browsing a local charity shop I found they had some Ted Baker Items in as corporate donations. These were brand new and I managed to pick up 2 jackets, 1 pair of trousers and a coat for only £110 in total! I’ll get some of these altered to fit me but truth be told they are quite close to a perfect fit any way.

Any way, that’s the summary for the month – How did everyone else do?

14 months of Matched Betting

Introduction: My first experience of matched betting was just over 10 years ago. At this time although it was popular, there wasn’t as much literature on the subject as there is now and it took some time to find the right offers manually. Now there are so many articles and websites designed to help you with finding offers, and in my opinion a paid service is fundamental to success. I’ve used a few, but in my experience Profit Accumulator offers a great entry point and was crucial to my staying power in the early days. Disclaimer: The above and the ads in this article are affiliate links and I will receive a commission for anyone who signs up using this link.

Background

I’m not sure where I’d be without the income from matched betting. It’s enabled me to buy a car outright (without taking out a small loan), support my family while on reduced income and it’s helped me afford a new bathroom. I can’t really stress how important having extra income can help in your life, particularly at times of uncertainty and change. True, matched betting has it’s ups and it’s downs and it isn’t as lucrative as it once was, but there is still good money to be made if you are willing to put the time in.

As I have mentioned in the header of this article, there are many matched betting services around, so I’m not going to attempt to explain the basics when they do it so well. I will however explain a few truths that you may need to know beforehand.

  • You should not even think about matched betting if you have a gambling addiction or you think you might be prone to problem gambling.
  • In time you may end up opening a large number of bookmaker and / or casino accounts. However you only need a few to begin with and you can work up from there.
  • Advanced methods can be emotional, believe me. Traditional offers are no / low risk, however if you are doing casino offers or trying to hit sports refunds you can go through dry spells.
  • It takes time and effort, and as such you have to treat it like a job.

Results

Onto the results. As mentioned I’ve done matched betting on and off for many years, but I only really started keeping proper records from August 2018. In 14 months I have made over £10,000 profit from casino offers and a further £3,800 from sports offers, bringing the total up to over £13,800. In the year before this I made £5,600 between both sports and casino, which shows I really stepped up the effort in the second year.

Casino

The £10,000 from casino offers has largely been from low risk casino offers mixed with some occasional higher risk offers. The profit of these over time is shown below and below this is the cumulative profit and expected value (EV). On average casino offers have returned £736 per month or £23 per day.

Profit over time (Top), Cumulative Profit and Expected Value over Time (bottom)

A further breakdown of the casino offer types is show below (the bubble size is the total number of offers done of that type). Most of the offers I’ve done are of the ‘Wager X get X bonus’ and these have returned a healthy profit so I plan to keep doing those. However an area that hasn’t been fully exploited is the deposit match type offer, contributing the highest profit but only taking up 113 (6%) of the 1,835 offers I’ve completed in this time period. However this may be because the highest winnings were from high risk casino sign up offers, so this could have easily have been lower.

Casino Offer Type vs Profit (Bubble size = Number of Offers Completed)
Sports

Early on I realised that while sports offers are on the most part risk free, there is more time spent looking for offers, hoping for refunds and checking for boosted odds. There are more advanced strategies but I typically tend to just do enough to try and offset any downswings in casino profits. On average I return around £270 per month, which is lagging severely behind casino profits. I’m aiming to increase this over the coming months.

Conclusion

Everybody knows that extra money is not an enabler of true happiness, but it can help clear the path to spend more time on the things that matter or help you out when you need a helping hand. Matched betting isn’t passive, but there aren’t many jobs that can compete with its potential returns, flexibility and low level to entry.

If it’s not for you, there are plenty of other ways to make extra cash, which I think is the key message and in my opinion the best thing that anyone can do for themselves and the future of their families. I’ve ended up putting my eggs in one basket of side income and the rational thing would be to look at diversifying. For now though, time is short and matched betting gives me the flexibility I need.

Otium

As with many Latin words, otium has many modern day interpretations. Originating in language used by roman infantry to describe time ‘on leave’, it became to be roughly translated as leisure time, or time away from one’s daily public life (‘public life’ in this sense was typically used to describe active engagements or commitments to further the state). In a broad and perhaps simplistic sense, otium could be described in modern terms as leisure time away from employment.

The best way to carry out this withdrawal from public life was a cause for much debate, and opinions were typically divided into two camps; those who favoured an active life (otium cum dignitate) or a contemplative life. In ancient times, taking your retirement or even having the time to discuss it was reserved for those of the aristocratic class, by virtue of the fact that they were the only ones who could afford to have retired from public life and had the rare option of pursuing a restful life or otherwise. Nowadays anyone with a computer and an internet connection can research the best way to a fulfilling life, and even arm themselves with the knowledge to retire early themselves.

Twenty centuries later, the world has changed in a way that would be out of the realms of thinking for the average Greek or Roman citizen. Even in recent times retirement has been traditionally seen as reserved for the older generations or those who have earned millions in business. The last 20 years or so have changed this thinking and personal finance authors and bloggers have largely lambasted the traditional thinking of retirement and financial advice, resulting in the FI/RE movement (financial independence/retire early).

This movement in turn has spawned myriads of lifestyle blogs, all claiming the ideas that underpin FI/RE fall within the everyday person’s grasp. Although occasionally their prerogatives should be questioned by determining what they stand to gain, there seems to be enough evidence to support this. The numbers add up and although there are some variations, they are all based on the same theme: spend less than you earn, invest the rest. Most of the time however the debate is based around how to best optimise performance, and not on the destination.

Unfortunately this laser focused view on controlling spending and investing can actually divert attention from where it is needed most. In fact occasionally investing in yourself and in quality products can make more of a positive impact to your life than obsessing over spreadsheets and financial statements ever could.

This is not a FI/RE blog per se. You are unlikely to find talk of penny pinching, or tips on how to cycle credit cards to your advantage. Our interest is more foundational; to discuss the humanistic motivations for retirement and to try to understand how to best live out our days with this in mind. We welcome case studies from people who have retired, so as to examine and learn from them. As for whether to persue an active or contemplative life – this will be a core theme of exploration.