Matched Betting Is Finally Happenng

So after much prevarication, I have finally stopped being so pathetic and given Matched Betting a go. I had a week’s holiday, so had thought that this would be a good time for me to get cracking with it. I honestly think I was putting it off for so long because it seems that this is going to be the thing that’s going to be key for me in reaching FIRE, and I was afraid to start in case that turned out not to be the case. I’ve pretty much got myself to a point where I will have my mortgage paid off by the time I’m 60 and should have enough with my defined benefit pension and dividends to live reasonably well until the state pension kicks in to top things up for me. Really though I don’t want to be working until I’m 60. If I could get myself to the point where I could afford to cut back on my working around the age of 55 then I think that would do me just fine. So that gives me just over six years to get my mortgage paid off so that I can afford to live on a lot less than I do at the moment. I figure if I can make about £400 a month on top of my salary then I’ll be rid of my mortgage in seven years, so not quite on target, but that gives me something to work towards.

So how did I get on with Matched Betting then? Well honestly, it was a bit of a rocky start. I heeded some advice and set up a separate email address and bank account. The latter was particularly important as my bank is also my employer, and whilst I’m sure they’re not allowed to be poking around in my bank account, I’d rather avoid any questioning around my newly developed betting hobby! I signed up to OddsMonkey, as I was pretty sure I was going to need a fair amount of support to get going with this. I have to say OddsMonkey is working well for me, and it’s definitely something I’m going to continue to subscribe to. For £17.99 a month I would say it’s money well spent.

So I was really nervous to get started, but realised that I just needed to get on with it. So I followed the tutorials to the letter on OddsMonkey, it really does talk you through things step by step. I was able to get use TopCashback when setting one of the bookie accounts up, so that was a nice little bonus. So I managed to do some qualifying bets without too many problems. It takes a bit of time to register for the accounts, but you know it’s effectively just putting your personal details in to a form. Not exactly riveting stuff, but if it’s going to bring some cash in for me I’m happy to tap away.

The problem came when I was looking at different events to compare the odds and ended up with multiple tabs open on my laptop. I then inadvertently managed to back and lay different races. I was finding it a bit difficult to navigate my way around the different websites to check what I’d bet on, so I ended up thinking I’d done everything ok, but actually I hadn’t. So rather than gaining twenty odd pounds I ended up being £82 down. You know when you just can’t believe how stupid you’ve been? There was part of me that just wanted to chuck it all at that point and say that this wasn’t for me. This was exactly what I was afraid would happen, and I’d been proved right.

I then had a bit of a word with myself and realised that yes I’d made a stupid mistake, but it wasn’t the end of the world and that I was pretty sure I could make the money back. I know myself pretty well I think and it always takes me a while to learn new things. I’m always worried about making mistakes and ironically this makes my brain freeze and I mess up. I always get there in the end though, and once I’ve got something I’m usually pretty good at it.

So I’ve pressed on. I’ve now successfully managed to make my first lot of profit of £24 (well, you know obviously I’m still down the 80 odd quid – but I’ll just keep chipping away at that)  so I’m pretty happy with that. I’ve got more qualifying bets settling today, so once the free bets are credited I’ll get some more bets placed. I’m quietly confident that before too long I’ll have made back the money I lost and covered the OddsMonkey subscription and can start thinking about putting the profit towards extra mortgage payments.

I’ve spent a bit of time getting myself organised to hopefully avoid any more cock ups. I’ve set myself a spreadsheet up where I can keep track of the bets that I’ve placed and what the special offers are. And the key learning I’ve taken from the whole experience has been not to have multiple tabs open. So the process I now follow is:

  • Go into OddsMonkey and check the OddsMatcher.
  • Click the event information button and use the calculator to work out the amount I need to      lay and how much the liability will be.
  • From there I click the link to take me directly to the bookie site and also the exchange site.
  • Set up the bets on both the bookmaker site and the exchange site, double checking that I am both backing and laying the same event and team
  • Make sure I have enough money deposited in both accounts
  • Confirm both the bets.
  • I then go straight to my spreadsheet and log the details.
  • One final check of the open bets in the bookie and exchange sites gives me confidence that I have in fact done things properly!

I’ve already had an email through from one of the bookies offering me a follow up offer, so I’ve just done the qualifying bet for that today. It’s taking up a fair bit of my time, but I think that’s mostly because I’m double and triple checking everything now. I’m sure it will become much more second nature for me. But honestly I’m not minding the time that I’m spending on it. Saying that, when the sun was shining last weekend I was out on the sun lounger rather than on the laptop, but considering I live in Scotland I’m not sure that’s going to curtail my Matched Betting activities all that much. We had hailstones today for goodness sake!

So I’m really happy that I’ve made a start on Matched Betting. It will be interesting to see how I get on with it moving forward. I’ve still got plenty of the sign up offers to do, so hopefully there’s plenty of profit to be made from those. I think it probably is something that I can just fit around my normal life when I’m just pottering around the house. I’m a bit of a home body, so I quite like just faffing about the house, so I can’t see any reason why I can’t just grab the laptop every once in a while and make some money. Hopefully I’ll get in the habit of doing a little bit every day, although to be honest I’m not sure how much I’ll be doing on nights where I have running clubs. I guess though as I get quicker at it I’ll just be able to grab a few minutes here and there to place some bets.

So I feel like I’ve made some real progress in my journey towards FIRE. Although I’m actually a little bit worse off financially, I’ve got the potential there to make a great difference to my finances. I’ve been focussing a lot more on the income growing mind set since I started the Matched Betting rather than just sitting starring at my net worth figures and hoping that they’ll miraculously improve.

It’s useful to track your figures, and it certainly is motivating to see your situation improving. It gives you something to aim for and keeps your mind on keeping your expenses as low as possible. At the same time though I don’t want to become obsessed with my net worth and how long I’ve got to go until I reach FIRE. I want to be out in the world living my life to the fullest. I want to enjoy spending time with my friends and family and experiencing all that the world has to offer.  So my plan is to keep monitoring my expenses, bring in extra income from Matched Betting, get my mortgage cleared as quickly as possible, keep investing and most importantly live the most fabulous version of my life.

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March Net Worth – Better Late Than Never

So considering how many weeks ago I worked out my net worth for March, I’ve been particularly tardy in posting. I did the figures nice and early to take advantage of my bonus getting paid and actually staying in my bank account before I have to pay most of it out on the car. I also wanted to take advantage of a bump in the share price, although actually that seems to have stayed up anyway despite the ups and downs as a result of the Brexit chaos. So anyway, here goes with my net worth for last month.

Debts

Mortgage £88,340.18

Assets

Cash £17,407.98

Money in sharesave £10,304

AVC’s £3,729.43

Shares £34,827.09

House £228,000

Total Assets £294,268.50

Net Worth including house equity

£294,268.50 – £88,340.18 = £205,928.32

Net Worth excluding house equity

£66,268.5 – £88,340.18 = -£22,071.68

Scary when you see it like that how much of what I have is tied up in my house.


So overall I’m pretty happy with those figures. Saying that, I have a LOT of car expenses this month, which will punch a hole in those figures somewhat. I think the number that’s pleasing me the most at the moment is the net worth excluding the house equity. Although it’s a negative number it’s definitely going in the right direction. I reckon with some hard work I can probably bring that figure down to zero in the next two years.  It’s good to know that if I wanted or needed to stay where I was house wise then I could liquidate everything else and not be a million miles away from being at break-even point. Well, you know, what’s £22k between friends? Not that I’m going to do that, obviously, but still, it’s good to know that things are going the way I want them to.

If I can weather the storm of the car Armageddon, then I should have another good month coming up in May when it’s time for the dividends to be paid. And then in January my next share save will be maturing and netting me a tidy little profit. So I’m hoping that things will continue to improve. I’m on holiday this week as the kids are on their Easter holidays, so at some point I will hopefully man up a bit, get over myself and get cracking with Matched Betting. I really am being pathetic about it, and that needs to stop now.

I’ve had a bit of a wake-up call this month in terms of how much I really want to reach FIRE. I knew it was important to me, but I had a moment recently where I was rushing home to check my spreadsheets to see if I could afford to give up work. If you’ve been paying attention to my net worth you’ll know that no checking was really required, I can’t afford to tell them to go to hell and flounce out the door. Well, I could certainly afford to support myself for a period of time whilst I sorted out an alternative source of income, but I certainly am nowhere near FIRE yet.

The reason for all of this consternation was a chat from the powers that be in relation to the shifts that I work. I have a lovely 8-4 shift along with a not so lovely alternate Saturday working pattern. Other people in the department work till 8.00 at night on a rotating shift pattern. When I was offered the job 5 years ago I told them I could only accept it if I could get a set daytime shift. They were happy to accept that and so all was well. Now bear in mind that I’ve worked for this company for 18 years, and during that time I’ve worked all sorts of shifts, including a constant 10.00 at night finish. So I kind of feel that I’ve done my time on the rubbish shifts. Not to mention the fact that I have two boys to bring up, and quite frankly leaving them to fend for themselves doesn’t exactly float my boat.

So I’m in limbo at the moment where they’ve asked me to go away and think about what sort of flexibility I can offer the business. And if I offer nothing suitable they’re going to give me eight week’s notice and put me on a variable shift. If I don’t agree I can find another job. Nice. Chances are it’s not quite as black and white as they’re making out, but who knows. It’s fair to say I’ve been spitting feathers at work and it’s focussed my mind even more on FIRE.

Something that is being talked about at work at the moment is the possibility of us getting offered home working for at least part of the time. They’ve trialled it in another department and it seems to be working pretty well. They’ve not gone into any detail yet as it’s not officially on offer, but the rumour is that they’re looking for about a third of us to take them up on it. We’re crammed in to our current office building, and as our department is looking to expand shortly we’re pretty soon going to run out of space. Parking is an ongoing issue too, so obviously having people away from the office would help with that too.

When I was younger I always thought that working from home would be an absolute dream for me. Then I went through a stage where I thought I would find it far too isolating. Particularly when the kids were little, going to work was one of the few times I actually got to spend time with adults. Now I’m not quite sure what I think about it. My initial thought was that it wasn’t for me. As I don’t live with a partner I definitely enjoy the social aspects of work, although to be honest we’re often so busy that I can go whole days with barely even getting a chance to say hello to my team. I’ve got more social interaction now too with my various running groups, so maybe it wouldn’t be such an issue. I only have a 15 minute commute each way, so that’s not a factor particularly, but it would be nice just to commute to the spare room. I’m definitely more productive in a quieter environment, so I’m sure I’d get more done at home. Maybe it would give me more time to work on side hustles too. It’s definitely food for thought.

 I’ll be interesting to see what they are actually proposing. There are rumours that it will only be available for people prepared to work the later shifts. Also I would need to see if there was any compensation on offer for the extra costs you incur when working from home, such as heating costs etc. When I mentioned this at work everyone was saying that the business were doing you a favour so you would just have to cover these costs yourself. Well I can see that there’s a benefit to the individual, but the business isn’t doing this out of the goodness of their heart. They’re running out of space and they don’t want to have to take on another building.  It’s definitely something interesting to think about. Maybe I wouldn’t mind quite so much having to work a bit later at night if I was doing it in the comfort of my own home. We’ll see.

I was away down south for the weekend visiting the folks which was lovely, so today is the first day of my holiday where I am at home. I went to bed quite late, but was quite smug in the fact that I didn’t need to set my alarm until 8.00 to give me enough time to drop the car at the garage. I was thinking how good it was that I could go to bed at midnight and still get eight hours sleep. Of course all that happened is that I woke up at my usual 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I’m now completely exhausted and not wanting to do anything except loll about.

So I really hope that this isn’t the way that things will go when I reach FIRE. I imagine that I’ll settle into some sort of a routine, and hopefully my body will figure out that it doesn’t need to ping awake at 6am. Or if it doesn’t, I will actually get smart enough to go to bed at a reasonable time. I’m sitting here right now thinking that I’m sure there’s lots of things that I should be doing, but I feel like I’m at a bit of a loose end. I’ll probably feel a lot better when I get started with Matched Betting. I feel as though it’s hanging over me somewhat, taunting me to get started. Action conquers fear as they say, so I just need to actually do something about it and I’ll feel much better.

So plans for this week off are to get started with Matched Betting, get some more things listed on eBay, get a few jobs done about the house, get some running done and spend some time doing nice things with the kids when they’re not revising. The eBay is slow to say the least, but I’ve sold another couple of things, and whilst I think it’s safe to say that I’m probably not going to make my fortune from this, I’m quite enjoying it and it doesn’t eat into my free time too much. I think that whilst I’m still working and trying to build up some alternative sources of income the key is going to be to find things that I don’t mind doing in the evenings and the weekends. I don’t mind working, in fact I actually quite enjoy it, it’s the enforced aspect of work that I don’t like. I don’t want to always be in the office and quite frankly putting up with all the nonsense that goes along with doing your actual job.

So I think that’s about it from me. Rather than sitting here faffing about I’m going to take some action and try my hand at a wee bit of Matched Betting. How bad can it be really? I guess the worse that can happen is that I mess up and lose a bit of cash. It’s not like I’m staking the house or anything. So I’ll keep you posted on how I get on. Feel free to shout at me if my next post is still saying that I really need to get started with Matched Betting. Did anyone else feel like this when they started trying to bring in extra sources of income, or is it just me?

The Year Marches on – Goals Update

So just as a wee reminder, here are the goals that I set myself for March and how I’ve done with them.

Run my local park run in under 27 minutes – not exactly an unqualified success this one. Not to put too fine a point on it, this was a big fat FAIL. There are a number of excuses reasons for this. To start with I work every second Saturday, so I’m limited to the number of parkruns I can do in the month. Then I was ill for a week, so missed one of my chances to run it. Then there was another event on at my local parkrun, so it was cancelled. I did run at another parkrun that week, it’s an easier course than my local one and I still didn’t  get under 27 minutes as I was too busy taking it easy having a social run chatting with my friend. I tried to bring it in under 27 minutes with a sprint finish, but I’d left it too late. It wouldn’t have counted anyway as it wasn’t my local.  To be perfectly honest my running is not going great at the moment, so I’m happy to just be getting out there and grinding the miles out rather than worrying too much about how fast I’m running. Considering 27 minutes is a minute slower than my fastest time, this should have been a realistic goal, but such is life.

Complete my 10 mile and 6 mile race – I’m happy to report that this goal is a total PASS. I like how I sneakily didn’t put any time targets in there, so all I had to do was turn up and do the miles. The 10 miler was a bit of a challenge with killer hills and gale force winds, but the buffet at the end more than made up for it! I loved, loved, loved the 6 mile trail race.

Get my weight down to 10 stone 9 pounds – the least said about this the better. I have been eating for Scotland this month. I had been avoiding the scales like the plague, so was pleasantly surprised to find that I was at 10 stone 11 pounds – so still a FAIL – but not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I really need to get a grip on this. I don’t have a massive amount to lose, but even just a few pounds would help my running no end.

Research rates to switch my cash ISA and get the account changed over – PASS. All done. I’m happy with the rate I got. I had to send the form off to transfer it over a couple of times as there was some sort of issue with them finding my existing account, but I got there in the end. This is always a nice job to get done. It doesn’t take too long and you always feel good to get it ticked off your to do list.

Research low cost index trackers – PASS (SORT OF) I wouldn’t say I’m completely sorted on this one – but I did spend a bit of time looking in to this. As I’ll not be doing this until the new year when my next share save scheme matures I don’t think I need to have decided on the actual funds just now, but at least I’ve made a bit of a start on this. Probably one to revisit a bit later on in the year.

Finish reading the eBay book – PASS. I’ve finished reading this and have started selling some stuff on eBay. I had a bit of a false start with my eBay account being suspended after I listed only four DVD’s. I finally got to speak to a real person and got it sorted out and my account reinstated. They started grilling me about who my supplier was. I had to let them know that my supplier for now was my bookshelf and that I was hardly some sort of eBay mogul, but rather someone looking to make some extra cash from the rubbish lying about the house. I’m hardly making my fortune from this, but I’ve sold six DVD’s now and am going to list some more things shortly. I’ve learned a few lessons from my experience so far and am going to try to list things as Buy It Now with free postage as this seems to be the way that a lot of people like to buy, and are willing to pay a premium for this. I’ve also learned that it’s probably not a good idea to sell things belonging to your kids without telling them, even if it is things they’ve not looked at in years. If you do that and they discover what you’re up to then they tend to ask for half of your profit!

Figure out how to add pictures to my blog posts – PASS (I THINK) I haven’t actually done this yet, but I think I know what to do now.  I’ve done a wee pie chart to go with my net worth figures which I’m inordinately proud of due to my normally moronic IT skills. So if you see a pie chart in one of my posts then you’ll know I’ve achieved this particular goal. If not then feel free to throw virtual rotten tomatoes at me.

Work out how to add links to the blog – PASS. This is almost certainly a work in progress, but at least I’ve managed to include links to blogs that I follow and put in an archive. As this blog develops I’ll hopefully add in other links, such as books that I’ve read, but for now I’m happy with the start I’ve made.

Re-watch Game of Thrones ready for the new series starting. A bit of a ridiculous one I know, but realistically I know it’s something I’ll be spending a fair chunk of my time doing, so I might as well be honest about it. I tend not to watch a lot of TV, but I do like a nice box set and usually have one on the go for when I need to sit quietly and relax. Rather predictably this is a PASS. Rather helped by a week off on the sick where I had no energy to do anything other than lie on the couch feeling sorry for myself and watch TV. I have to admit that by the end of the week I was at saturation point with GOT, and had to switch it off before I went crazy. I’m trying not to start another box set just now with summer (hopefully) coming soon and being able to spend more time outside.

So that has been a bit of a mixed bag. Running wise I failed on the parkrun target, but I did complete my two races. I didn’t get to where I wanted to be weight wise, but I’m not as fat as I probably should be considering how much chocolate I’m eating just now. In terms of FIRE I’ve successfully moved my cash ISA over to a better rate now that my bonus period has finished and I’ve made a start on researching low cost index trackers. I’ve made a very tentative start on developing a side hustle. The eBay book is read and I’ve managed to sell a few things, with hopefully a few lessons learned and a bit of a plan starting to develop as to how I can move that forward. As far as the blog is concerned I’ve manged to add a blog roll and got an Archive added in. And yes, I’ve spent rather a lot of my time rewatching Game of Thrones in time for the new series starting. It’s all about balance in life don’t you know!

So what should I be working on for April? I’ve got a week off work this month, so hopefully I might get time to be a wee bit productive. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be on the goals that I missed this month, but I think they might go back in there to try and focus my mind a bit. I’ve a few other ideas of things I want to be working on too. So here goes. Drum roll please.

April Goals

Get down to under 27 minutes for my local park run. Sounds familiar I know. One of the guys from my running group has offered to pace me round, and I really need to take him up on that.

Get my weight to 10 stone 9 pounds. We’ve got easter in April, so I have no idea if I will do this, a girl can but try, but you know, chocolate mmmmmm.

Start Matched Betting. I’ve been watching videos on this and following online tutorials. I thought I had it sussed, but the more detail it goes into the more confused I am getting. Part of me thinks I need to do some more research on this as I don’t want to mess up and lose money. In reality though I probably just need to get on with it. It will either suit me down to the ground, or will drive me completely crazy and stress me out. To be honest it could go either way. I’m actually terrified to start as at the moment it seems like this amazing thing that could really help pay more to my mortgage. I’m worried that when I start it might not work for me and my hopes will be dashed. I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Read at least one book. I love reading, but go through spells where I read loads, and then times when I don’t read for ages. I’m finding since finishing Game of Thrones and not starting another box set I’m reading a lot more, so hopefully this will be an easy one for me. 

List some more items on Ebay, using the Buy it now method this time. Hopefully I’ll make a bit more cash doing it this way, which will encourage me to list some more things. I’m sticking to DVD’s just now as my youngest has a stash of the plastic envelopes to post these out in. I have a pile of books in my room that I’ve pulled off the bookshelves and that I’m reasonably happy to part with, so I just need to look at the best way to post these out and get them listed too.  

So I think that’s probably enough to be getting on with. A couple of familiar goals and some new stuff to work on. I seem to be making some small progress in the right direction. I’m quite excited about developing side hustles. I need to make sure I actually get on with it rather than just keep reading up about things. I seem to be somewhat paralysed with nerves on the Matched Betting front just now, so if this time next month I’ve at least given that a go then I’ll feel that’s been a productive month. I’ll build on my eBay start and hopefully start to get somewhere with that.

I’ve got all my net worth figures done, but I think I’ll keep that for another post as this one has probably gone on long enough. The figures look good, but this is an expensive time of year with absolutely every car related expense coming out in the one month. I very sneakily did my net worth when the share price was high, my bonus had just been paid and I hadn’t yet had to empty my bank account to pay for car expenses. Anyway, I’ll keep all that for the next post and sign off just now. Let me know about any goals that you’re working on as I love to hear about the plans that people have. As the sign in my lounge says “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” I’m pretty sure that most of us in the FIRE community are in the making it happen camp.