By Hollie Bone
A student nurse who struggled to make ends meet turned her finances around by making £10,000 a year spending just four hours a week online gambling – despite knowing nothing about football and horse racing.
Carlene Harris, 27, from Lambeth, London, was spiralling into financial trouble three years ago when her £500 a month NHS bursary fell short of her travel, accommodation and living costs while studying in the capital – leaving her £2,000 in debt.
But desperate not to let her money woes get in the way of her dreams, the student started looking for a way to make some extra cash and discovered matched betting – gambling which automatically puts money down on every outcome.
Now, Carlene estimates she has made £30,000 in the last three years spending just three to five hours a week on her tax-free side hustle – and claims she has ‘never lost a penny’ of her own money despite not knowing anything about the horse racing and football games she gambles on.
Not only has she cleared her debt and funded her living costs during her studies, she’s even been able to splash out on a £5,000 Nissan Micra C+C convertible and hopes to have enough for the deposit to buy a house in London next year.
Super saver Carlene said: “By the start of 2016 my debt had spiralled out of control and I knew I needed to sort it out – but the working hours on placement made it really difficult to get a normal job to help my income.
“I didn’t know anything about betting or football and horse racing at all, but I realised you didn’t really need to know too much about what the outcome might be, you just have to be savvy about how much you spend on each outcome.
“I’ve been able to buy myself a car and now I’m saving up for a mortgage so I can buy a house in the city next year.
“It’s nice to not have to worry about money, I don’t get stressed about Christmas and I can afford to splash out on presents for my family.
“But it also means I enjoy the job more, I focus on my patients more because I’m not stressed about debt and if I pick up extra shifts it’s because of the emotional payoff, not the financial pay – I want to be there.”
Cash-savvy Carlene started using matched betting site, Profit Accumulator, after reading about the hobby on money saving expert, Emma Drew’s blog.
Matched betting works by splitting your bet across all outcomes of the situation, for example for a team to win or lose a football – guaranteeing a return on your investment either way.
Proponents claim it is not gambling but simply using mathematical formulas in order to profit from betting offers.
Carlene said: “I try to make £200 a week in addition to my salary and during the football season I can make between £1,000 to £2,000 in one month.
“But once I’ve made that money I stop and if I haven’t made £200 in a week I don’t push myself to make more next week because it’s still bonus cash.
I’ve never lost a penny, that’s where it differs to gambling, because you always get your money back as long as you balance where you put your cash.
“It has become a real hobby and I think more people could benefit from it so I’ve even decided to start blogging about my experience.
“People ask me how I manage to afford these things for myself and when I start telling them about matched betting they’re fascinated.
“Being a student can be financially challenging and exhausting so it’s about working smarter not harder, and finding something that pays while you balance your studies and personal life.
“I don’t have to worry about money anymore and it feels amazing, I feel very privileged to have been able to put myself in this position.”
To read more about Carlene’s experience go to SimplyCashHacks.com or to find out more about matched betting go to ProfitAccumulator.co.uk