As I alluded to in an earlier post on side hustles, we began matched betting in June at the beginning of the World Cup as a way to boost our savings.
A (lucrative) time suck
The headline takeaway is that it’s been lucrative – we’re up to about £2,500 in earnings (from middle of June to middle of October) but that it’s also a massive time suck & I actually don’t think many people who espouse the virtues of matched betting are actually honest enough in saying that. We’ve had weekends where all we’ve done is matched bet – it’s not only laying the bets, it’s the admin of recording all the details of the bookies you’ve signed up for, noting if you’ve completed your qualifying bet, then keeping track of if the bookie has given you your free bet (they don’t always so there’s the added faff of live chats to get the free bet if they’ve been remiss in awarding it), then using your free bet in the time allotted for it before it expires and that’s not to mention the extra steps of sending confirmation of your ID & debit card details to the bookies who won’t authorise your account until you’ve sent them the above.
I don’t say all of this to nay-say matched betting – I actually really love it for the side hustle money we’ve accumulated. I say it because all of those scenarios I’ve listed are real & the admin of matched betting makes it a real time suck & I think it’s important to understand the whole process & not get sucked into the enticing headline claims I see on Twitter of earning £20k just like that.
Yes, you can earn well but two things – it’s takes time to learn the process & it’s an administrative undertaking. All that aside, I still think it’s worth pursuing & with that in mind, here are some tips for people who are just starting out.
Make sure you have a slush fund before you start
- Once you’re into the MB lifestyle, you’ll have excess funds to fund more account openings and to keep the ball rolling. But you need a slush fund to begin with. You not only need to deposit certain amounts with the bookie for your qualifying bet, you also need money in the exchanges to lay the bet. You can start with £50 but it can be slow going to begin with if you’ve got to wait for your qualifying bet to settle, get your free bet, bet that & let it settle to get make the profit. And then rinse repeat with the next account.
- It does get easier over time as you build more profit but you’ll also need to make sure you’re withdrawing your winnings from accounts back to your bank account to refund more accounts.
Get Profit Accumulator
- This will make your life so much easier. We weren’t sure if we would sign up for an account at the outset but we did a free trial and saw how much of a time/sanity saver it is. They not only list all of the sign up offers to apply for, they also list reload offers & have an odds calculator so you know exactly how to lay the bet out. It’s also really well organised as you can mark offers as ‘in progress’ or ‘complete’ and someone who craves order and organisation, it makes life so much neater! (and easier as you can tell at a quick glance which ones you still have to do). We wouldn’t have made as much as we have without PA, making the monthly fee money well spent. You can learn more and sign up for PA using my referral link.
Have a separate bank account
- We wanted to keep all of our bookie activity off of the records of our main bank account, for the reason that we don’t yet have a mortgage & when we come to buy a house we didn’t want anything to be unearthed & for us to look like crazy gambling addicts. So we each opened a new current account – the Halifax reward account so we could collect the £3 (now £2 ☹️) a month bonus. Also pro tip: Nationwide realllllly don’t like you paying so much money into bookie sites. Mr NC originally opened a Nationwide current account and got blocked so many times from depositing money in his newly opened bookie accounts – it cost him a few free bets in the end. Halifax, it seems, don’t care if you squander all your money into bookie accounts.
- Aside from hiding the evidence from companies who may one day look at your bank account for affordability checks, we just really like having separate accounts for our matched betting endeavours.
Keep a detailed spreadsheet
- Linked to the point above, you need to be keeping track of where your money is (& how much of it there is) at any one time. If you think closely about the machinations of MB, the mind boggles. I think there are around 70 sign up offers on PA to take advantage of. But when you think of it – that means 70 accounts to open & keep details of, 70 qualifying bets & then free bets to place – an administrative nightmare! We just keep a google sheet of account details, dates of qualifying & free bets and then if we’ve taken the money out of the bookie account once we’re done & dusted with them.
- It’s helped us a great deal & we’d be quite frankly screwed without it.
Time limit yourself if needs be
- This is more of a sanity saver than anything else. We’ve spent weekends where all we’ve done is matched bet and not in a healthy way. We’ve had trouble knowing when to stop and always want to chase that next free bet. We haven’t had a problem with funding accounts & so we’ve been able to open as many accounts as we can handle at any one time. A few burn out meltdowns later (I make it sound way more dramatic than it was – it was all just a faff keeping track of everything) & we have implemented more stricter timelines with ourselves so we don’t give up whole weekends in the future. Don’t get me wrong, we are all about that side hustle life, but we are both out of the house long hours during the week & have realised we don’t want to give over all of our free time at the weekend to bookies and spreadsheets.
- Out of all of the side hustles we do, it is definitely the most lucrative & one that we will keep up with. Once you learn the process, it’s easy enough to do, I genuinely think the hardest part is being organised enough and knowing where you are with each bet/bookie.