Matched Betting vs Gambling

A while back, I listened to Huw’s interviews with Guy on matched betting with great interest (second interview here).

Guy made close to £7k in just 6 months – he’s broken the £15k barrier since that interview! It was great to know first hand the potential that can be earned via matched betting, although from the sounds of things, Guy does put a lot of effort into getting the profits rolling in.

Prior to matched betting, Guy had never ventured into a bookie and his gambling was limited to just playing the lottery.  I guess that meant that at no point has he been tempted to just gamble whilst he’s been doing his matched betting.

Former Gambler

On the other hand, as someone who used to count gambling (sports betting) as one of her favourite hobbies, I cannot say that I have not been tempted and that temptation to have a ‘flutter’ is something that I continue to struggle with.

Yes, I do the lotto (£2 a week with a lottery syndicate) and I take part in a football predictions league at work (£1 a week) but these activities still struggle to dampen my bubbling gambling urges.

I don’t think I will fall off the wagon in an epic way and start spending/throwing away all my matched betting profits but the threat of stepping off the rails lingers in the background.

The good news is that I can’t end up wasting all my profits now anyway, as I’ve started investing some of it (into property crowdfunding via Property Moose*) but sometimes, I can feel my finger twitching and hovering over the ‘Bet Now’ button for a pure gamble! Oh the…


Below is an actual 6-leg football accumulator I did at the end of last season, whereby I bet that 6 teams would win.

All the teams did win and doing it the matched betting way, I made around £15 profit – nice, eh?

However, if I had just gambled my £25 bet on the accumulator, I would have made £167.85 profit…


Feeling Lucky?

I’m finding that I win around 1 in 4 of the accumulators I do, so a little voice in the back of my mind is ‘suggesting’ that I should perhaps just place normal bets instead of matched bets for some of the accumulators I do.

Making £167 profit is obviously a lot more exciting (to me), but I need to keep reminding myself that had all the teams not won, I would have ended up losing my entire £25 stake in a straight gamble. (Most bookies have ‘acca insurance’ whereby if one team lets you down, you get your stake returned as a free bet but if two teams had lost, then you get zip!)

Matched betting ultimately wins hands down as regardless of the results, no money is lost (aside from small qualifying losses) and with the right selections/odds, you can make small risk free profits, which, with patience, you can build into bigger profits.

Stop Matched Betting?

I don’t want to stop just because I might be weak and succumb to temptation and revert back to my old gambling ways. I like that this side income adds to my savings and if I end up without a job long term, I will be counting on it to help cover some of my living expenses.

I have to keep my focus and make sure that my matched betting follows the way I invest, ie slowly and steadily, with growth via small increases.

That said, I can’t say for certain that there won’t be the odd ‘blip’ – there hasn’t been so far (much…).

Got to focus, got to focus and be happy to be making on average £400 a month tax free in my spare time.

I’ve only been at this for a little over 6 months now and I hope to be able to continue to reap the benefits for as long as I can.

I know, I know – gambling is a complete mug’s game – tell me something I don’t know!

Anyway, the matched betting website I subscribe to is OddsMonkey*. I started drafting this post a while ago and since then, the website has come up with a way where I might be able to satisfy the ‘gambler gremlin’ inside me with less risk. I’ll give it a try to see how it goes!

Any other matched bettors out there who feel the pull of gambling or is it just me??


Monkey Stocks League Challenge – Penultimate Update!

With the markets on the up in the face of Brexit Bears, how are the Monkeys et al doing in our Monkey Stocks League Challenge?

Below is a snapshot as at the close of trading on 31st August 2016 and heading for the finish line and seemingly unstoppable are M’s Underdogs Fund!3108leagueCan anyone catch up to this ‘fund’ which is showing a gain of over 52%?  Craig’s Interesting Intials Fund is making a good challenge but it might be too little too late.

With still one more month to go before the winner is announced, has M made a little space on her mantelpiece for the winning trophy?  Yes, there will be an actual physical trophy!

For the Live table (during trading hours, Rank and Value will be updated automatically) and full portfolio listings, have a look here and also via the right sidebar.

All August dividends have been added to the respective portfolios. However, please let me know if I’ve missed any (or if there are any errors) as there are so many to keep track of.

Real Portfolios

Of the real portfolios, behind the Underdogs Fund is my own Funky Monkey Fund.  Mr Z’s Undead Monkey Fund makes it back into the top five, with FireVLondon’s B Team Fund languishing in mid-table obscurity and Cerridwen’s Eye of Toad Fund still in the bottom 3.

Expertly Picked Funds

John Kingham’s Pigmamig Fund drops out of the top 5, with Huw’s Kunniga Apa Fund dropping to 9th place. It looks like the ‘expertly picked’ funds will not be claiming the top spots!

Steady Eddy

As mentioned  before, diy’s Mutley’s Magic Formula fund maintains its steady process and position in the Top 5. This fund is based on Vanguard’s 60% LifeStrategy Fund and appears to not bounce around as much as the funds made up of just 5 stocks.

Best vs Worst

The best 5 performing shares since the start of the league are Centamin, NMC Health, ARM Holdings, Evraz, and Glencore plc.


If someone had happened to pick all these shares for their portfolio, they would have seen an awesome gain of over 81% on their initial investment of £500!

ARM Holdings is one of my random picks and will shortly be bought out at £17 per share by Softbank. For the purposes of this exercise, as there’s only one more update to go, I’ll leave this as cash in my portfolio, although in real life, I’ll reinvest the cash.

The worst 5 performing shares were Poundland, Barclays Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Nostrum Oil & Gas plc and Restaurant Group.

If you’d had the misfortune to pick this lot, you would have seen your portfolio value drop  by nearly 37% – not as bad as last month but still ouch!


Tune in sometime in October for the exciting finish to this little competition!


August 2016 Savings, plus other Updates

The weeks have flown by in the blink of an eye and it’s time for another update.


I managed a savings rate of 39.4% – entertainment/social costs with the family, and birthday outings added to the expenses.

My average savings rate has continued to plummet –  it’s now at 47.1%.  It’s not been easy keeping to my usual spending routine with family around. Still pretty good I guess but I don’t have many months left in the year now to try to drag it up to my target of 50%. I’ll just try to get as close as possible in that case.

This month’s income was boosted by £50 from rent received and £20.42 from TopCashback*. I also channelled another £300 of matched betting profits into Property Moose (property crowdfunding).

Future Fund 

The markets continue to be buoyant in the face of Brexit doom-gloomers and my portfolio now stands at £81,511, a gain of over 4.8% from last month. It didn’t seem that long ago that I broke the £70k barrier, yet here I am sliding past the £80k mark – a combination of new investment capital and investment gains. I know that this figure could just as easily drop (eg when Brexit actually happens) but right now, my portfolios are heading in the right direction.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month (which will be reinvested): Continue reading

How To Speak Money

When I borrowed John Lanchester’s ‘How To Speak Money‘ from the library last month, I was able to make progress on two of my goals in one go.

how to speak moneyOk, so technically this book isn’t about personal finance or investing as such but as there’s mention of ‘asset allocation’, Warren Buffett and ETFs among a lot of other interesting and diverse topics that can be linked with personal finance, I’m counting it as part of my goal!


The intro talks a little about the history of economics, including human behaviour, capitalism, some politics and other interesting stuff, mostly written in a non-text book style with pop-culture references and bits of humour.

There was however also a bit of ‘waffle’ which dragged on a bit, as what I really wanted to get to was the chunky middle section, entitled ‘A Lexicon of Money’.


Basically, it’s an A-Z of words, phrases and acronyms which I often hear or read about in financial or money context, words which I sort of know the meaning of but which I would struggle to explain in detail to a complete novice if I had to.

I’ll be the first to admit that while I’ve expanded my knowledge a bit on finance related topics these past couple of years, it still doesn’t mean that I totally understand all of it. I might understand it while reading it in a blog or news article. Ask me about it 6 months later and I’ll not be able to explain what it all actually means!

I’m not saying that after reading the book, I know everything – I just understand a bit more about implications of say, QE, increasing/decreasing interest rates (and not just relevant to savers) etc and that’s what the book was all about – increasing my understanding of some things I thought I knew a bit about but also learning about new stuff I knew nothing about. All in mostly bite-sized, easily digestible chunks.


So now, among some other things, I know the basic difference between ‘fiscal‘ and ‘monetary‘ and what the IMF does but my favourite new word?


I don’t know why but it makes me smile! 🙂

All in all, an interesting book, one that I’m likely to revisit just for future reference.

Anyway, hope you all have a great (long. for those in the UK) weekend.