Have you a secret hobby?
Something you’ve not mentioned to any friends or family because it would mean too much explanation (and even then they might put you on their People-I’m-Worried-About List?)
Mr FU and I have.
We’ve all the necessary apps on our phones, an inboxful of related emails and tons of SMS messages. But no-one else can see them! It’s all very cloak-and-dagger.
The other day I had to snap my laptop shut sharpish when my dad came round, for fear he’d see the list of most-visited sites on my Google homepage! Oh my…it was close. He has eagle eyes and is so genuinely curious that he’ll open a notebook if it’s lying on the kitchen counter to see what’s in it so I was very lucky to get away with it.
So do you want some clues? Our secret hobby involves money. (Naturally!)
And a lot of excitement when it’s an important sporting event like today – when England play Sweden in the Quarter Finals of the World Cup.
Fire up the bookies’ websites, Mr FU!
Yep, it’s matched betting.
I didn’t even know it was a thing! Which is why we keep it under wraps, because I reckon those that know us would be filled with horror and assume it was straight-up gambling. I know I did initially when Mr FU told me he’d read about it in his early FI-discovery days.
With our only experience of bookmakers being an annual punt on the Grand National we decided to give it a go and have been at it sporadically since Christmas, but the World Cup and Ascot meant we started getting a bit more into it. We’ve done loads of bookies’ sign-ups and are currently working through ‘bet x get an x free bet’ reload offers whenever they appear on sites like Matched Betting Blog and Team Profit. The World Cup ones have been my favourites. So while I’m looking forward to the Big Match today (come on, England!) I’m more looking forward to some free bet offers on it – much less stressful! I don’t think my nerves can take any more penalties, to be honest.
We’ve made enough money on MB in these past few months to cover half of our annual extravagance – the all-inc Spring family holiday to Spain – which is pretty good going, seeing as we travel as a family of four adults and four children, and such trips don’t come cheap. (A holiday that’s not very FI-friendly, I know, but with our eldest two potentially on the verge of never-holidaying-with-us-again we see it as an important and worthwhile deviation from the FIRE path. Just watch – they’ll still be holidaying with us well into their twenties, not wanting to forgo a freebie in the sun!)
So it’s definitely been worthwhile. I love seeing our profit total go up but we do need to up our game. I know there people making seriously good money doing MB ….and I want in on that good money!
The trouble is, we’ve not got the big bankroll these guys have. But even if we did, I’m not sure I have the nerve to place big money on horses either, despite it being matched with a lay bet. It just seems wrong. I suppose it feels like gambling even though it’s not.
I’d also love to get into the casino and bingo sign up offers but here’s another problem I have with matched betting…
I hate reading instructions. I don’t do instructions at all – I’ve no patience for them. So I start an online guide on how to do the offers, get partway through then the words stop going in! It’s a nightmare. Honestly, I just about made it through the sign-up offer guides without my eyes permanently glazing over.
So if there are any experienced matched bettors out there I’d love to hear your best hints and tips. Is it something you’ve shared with family and friends, or like us do you think they’ll completely misunderstand what it’s about (even if you explain it) and sign you up for Gamblers Anonymous? Are you making good money from it, or is it a small side hustle? What bankroll do you like to work with?
And can you help me stay focused enough to read through the guides, please? Haha.
P.S. Come on, England! Please!