Matched Betting: Prepare for the New Season!

Matched Betting: Prepare for the New Season!

I’ve talked about matched betting a few times on this blog. To recap, it’s a way of making risk-free (and tax-free) cash by taking advantage of bookmaker special offers and promotions.

Matched betting is perfectly legal and (done properly) it’s not gambling. You can read my introduction to matched betting here, and why I believe it is such a great money-making sideline for over-sixties in particular here.

The summer is typically a quiet time for matched betting, but come next month (August) all that is going to change. I am, of course, talking about the start of the new UK domestic football season!

To be clear, you don’t have to be a big football fan to look forward to this (I’m certainly not). No, the reason to anticipate the new season so keenly is the host of money-making opportunities it will present for matched bettors.

For one thing, the bookies will be pulling out all the stops to attract new clients and get current and former clients back onside. I expect to see a torrent of offers on the football especially in the next few weeks, giving the potential for some tasty risk-free profits by applying matched betting principles.

Also, once the football starts again, there will be many more opportunities to profit from one of my favourite matched betting techniques, Acca Insurance. This involves taking advantage of the offer by several bookies to refund a football accumulator in the form of a free bet if you have one losing leg. By judicious staking you can guarantee yourself a set profit on many such bets.

Finding accas that will work with this method and calculating the required stakes isn’t easy if you are working alone. I therefore recommend using my favourite matched betting advisory service, Profit Accumulator. They recently added a tool called Acca Catcher to the range of resources on offer to Platinum members.

Acca Catcher will find accas with insurance for you, show you how much profit they can generate, and reveal exactly what you need to stake on them and when. My recent blog post on How to Profit from Acca Insurance with Acca Catcher explains how this works in some detail. I have made hundreds of risk-free pounds using this technique and looking forward to making much more once the new season starts.

More About Profit Accumulator

Profit Accumulator is the marched betting advisory service I use myself and recommend to others. It is suitable both for those brand new to matched betting and for experienced matched bettors.

You can join PA free initially and they will provide details of two bookmaker offers you can take advantage of straight away. These should make you around £45 in net profit. If you wish to proceed further, you can then pay to become a Platinum member and get access to the full range of offers and services. As well as Acca Catcher (mentioned above), these include an oddsmatching tool and calculator for finding profitable bets to use with bookmaker offers and maximizing your returns from them.

A further advantage of joining Profit Accumulator is that you get access to the members-only forum, where you can get any questions you may have answered by more experienced members and/or the team behind PA.

If you think matched betting may be for you, I therefore highly recommend that you click through to the Profit Accumulator website to see what they offer and sign up for the free trial. By joining today you will be perfectly placed to take advantage of the flood of bookmaker offers likely to appear in the next few weeks.

As ever, if you have any questions or comments about matched betting or Profit Accumulator, please do post them below.

Disclosure: As well as being a member of Profit Accumulator I am also an affiliate for them. If you join and become a paying member after following any of the links in this post, I will receive a commission for introducing you. This does not affect in any way the cost of the service to you or the benefits you receive.

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Pounds and Sense Shortlisted for UK Money Blogging Award!

Pounds and Sense Shortlisted for UK Money Blogging Award!

I am very pleased to reveal that Pounds and Sense has been nominated for a SHOMO award by UK Money Bloggers.

The SHOMO awards (it stands for Show Me the Money Bloggers) are given out every year to UK-based independent money bloggers. The main sponsor is the cashback site Quidco.

There are various categories, from Best Frugal Food Blog to Best Personal Finance Blog. Pounds and Sense has been nominated in the Best Money Making Blog category.

I don’t expect to end up winning the award, as I am up against some highly professional and popular blogs in my category. However, even being short-listed in my blog’s first year is something I am very proud of.

The shortlists were produced by the SHOMO awards committee, chaired by Karyn Fleeting, aka Miss Thrifty. There is also a People’s Choice Award, for which all short-listed blogs are eligible. Voting takes place for this throughout August and is open to anyone. If you should feel inclined to vote for Pounds and Sense, don’t hold back!

In any event, I do highly recommend that you visit this page of the UK Money Bloggers website where all this year’s nominees are listed. There are some amazing blogs and other resources here, including many UK finance blogs I follow myself. If you are interested in money matters, I highly recommend checking them all out.

The winners of the SHOMO awards will be announced at the Show Me the Money Bloggers 3 Conference in London on 23 September 2017. For more information about the conference, and booking information, please click here.

Finally, I should like to express my gratitude to the unknown person or persons who nominated Pounds and Sense for an award..

As ever, if you have any comments or queries about this post, please do leave them below.

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Read More From Me in the Creating Wealth Newsletter!

Read More From Me in the Creating Wealth Newsletter!

Just a quickie today to let you know that I am back in harness with my former clients Agora (also known as Fleet Street Publishing). As some of you may know, I worked for several years on their More Money Review membership site.

I am now working again with my old editor, Michelle Roberts, on the Creating Wealth newsletter. This is a free email newsletter featuring a huge range of strategies for making money and building your personal wealth.

I shall be writing about ways of making, saving and investing money for CW, together with business and self-development topics, e.g. how to boost your productivity. So I will be covering some similar ground to Pounds & Sense, although there are certain subjects I sometimes discuss on the blog (e.g. health, travel, food and drink) that I won’t be talking about there.

In addition, Creating Wealth is aimed at all age groups, not just older people, so my articles will have a slightly different focus. I will also be covering career-building advice, which obviously isn’t something I normally discuss on this blog.

You can sign up to Creating Wealth here. As well as the newsletter, you will receive a free report titled Secrets of a Self-Made Millionaire (and no, that’s not me!).

I highly recommend subscribing to CW, not only because it is putting bread on my table, but because I genuinely believe you will enjoy reading the tips, advice and information it contains from me and my fellow contributors.

And of course, you can unsubscribe at any time if you decide it’s not for you.

I shall continue to publish on Pounds & Sense (and my Entrepreneur Writer blog) too, but perhaps not quite as frequently. I am meant to be semi-retired, after all!

If you have any comments or questions about Creating Wealth, as always, please do post them below.



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Should You Write a Book?

Should You Write a Book?

For many people one of the top things on their ‘To Do’ list when they retire is write a book. But is it a good idea or not – and will you make any money out of it?

I feel decently qualified to talk about this, as during my career as a freelance writer I have written over 100 books, mostly non-fiction. The first book I ever wrote was a guide for singletons looking for love. The most recent, earlier this year, was a guide to making money from forex trading (ghost-written for a client).

The first thing I would say is that you shouldn’t approach book writing with any expectation that you will make a ton of money from it. For most of the books I have written, my earnings have been modest set against the time and effort I put into them. In purely financial terms, article writing and copywriting have been a lot more lucrative.

On the other hand, even a modestly successful book can go on paying an income year after year, both in the form of royalties on sales and extras such as PLR (fees from library lending).

Writing a book also has attractions other than the purely financial. For example, if you want it to be, a book can be your passport to public speaking engagements, conference bookings and consultancy opportunities. It may lead to paying commissions from book, magazine and newspaper publishers. You may also be asked to appear on local – or even national – TV and radio, talking about your book and (in the case of non-fiction) your area of expertise.

Don’t under-estimate, either, the personal satisfaction of writing a book. Many people find that the process of planning and writing a book is engrossing and fulfilling. The sense of achievement at holding your own book in your hands is hard to beat. And completing a book can give your confidence and morale a big boost as well.

Of course, it must also be said that writing a book isn’t something you can do in a day or even (with a few notable exceptions) a week. It is a substantial project and will require self-discipline and determination. You will need to be well organized and focused. And while you definitely don’t need to be Shakespeare to write a book, at least a basic grasp of spelling, grammar and punctuation is essential.



Fiction or Nonfiction?

Fiction can be fun to write, and the potential returns if you write a best-seller are clearly huge. On the other hand, you do have to be realistic about how likely this is to happen. There is a massive amount of competition, and a new novelist has to be exceptionally talented (and/or lucky) to get a publishing deal.

Non-fiction (factual) books are probably a little easier to get published, and have the advantage that you may be able to get a contract just by submitting an outline and proposal to a publisher (highly unlikely with a novel). You will need to demonstrate that you have relevant experience and/or expertise in the field in question, though.

Unless you are already a well-known celebrity with a high public profile, the bad news is that it is very unlikely that you will be able to sell a book purely based on your life story.

Book or Ebook?

While print books are still very popular, recent years have seen a big rise in e-books. These are read on e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle or tablets or smartphones.

It is actually quite straightforward to publish an e-book for the Amazon Kindle, and some authors have made a lot of money doing just that. There is even a small but growing number of Kindle millionaires. I will talk about writing Kindle e-books in more detail in another post.

Publish or Self-Publish?

Other things being equal, it’s still probably best to aim initially for a contract with a traditional publisher. If they like your book, they will then take on all the ancillary tasks such as editing and proofreading and getting the finished book printed. They will also have a publicity department whose job it is to promote the book, e.g. by arranging reviews and media appearances.

So far as payment is concerned, the usual arrangement is that the publisher pays the author royalties – typically around 10 percent of sales, paid annually or biannually. You may also receive an advance against royalties, though advances generally have been decreasing for some years. Nowadays a typical advance for a new, non-celebrity author is £1000 to £2000.

Self-publishing used to be called vanity publishing, but nowadays that derogatory term is less often used. Essentially self-publishers take responsibility for the entire publishing process themselves, from writing through proofreading and editing to printing and promotion. While there can be attractions to this, self-published books are generally not taken seriously within the publishing industry. It can be a lot of work for scant reward, and I don’t  recommend going down this route unless you have exhausted all other possibilities (and probably not even then).

Self-publishing an e-book is another matter, though. As mentioned above, it is quite straightforward to do this using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform. If you self publish a Kindle e-book, you will be paid a royalty by Amazon for each one sold via the store. This can be as much as 70 percent of the sales price, which is a lot more generous than the royalty rate paid by print publishers.

In some cases, also, self-published e-books have been picked up by publishing houses for release in book form. The 50 Shades of Grey books by E.L. James are one high-profile example.

Self publishing an e-book is therefore definitely worth considering if for whatever reason you don’t want to go with a traditional print publisher for your book, or you have no success finding one.



What Next?

In this introductory post I have only been able to scratch the surface of writing and publishing a book, but if this is something you have thought about, I hope it will have given you some food for thought.

I should like to conclude with a few useful resources…

For general advice on writing-related matters, you might like to check out my other blog, Entrepreneur Writer, where I share tips, advice and information aimed at writers and aspiring writers.

For advice and feedback from fellow writers, I highly recommend joining the (free) forum at www.mywriterscircle.com. I helped set up MWC some years ago. Although I am no longer involved with its day-to-day-running, I still visit regularly. It’s a friendly online community with a dedicated team of volunteer moderators, all of whom are keen writers themselves.

If you’re looking for a practical guide to book writing, you might like to consider investing in my top-selling CD-based course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. Although primarily about writing non-fiction books, it also has a section devoted to fiction writing.

And for advice on writing Kindle e-books, my top recommendation is Kindling, a sort of one-stop shop for aspiring Kindle authors, produced and maintained by New Zealander Geoff Shaw. You can click here to read an in-depth review I did of Kindling on my EW blog.

Finally, to find publishers (and agents) who might be interested in your book (and much else besides), I highly recommend The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook or Writers’ Handbook. These are published annually, and in my view there is nothing really to choose between them.

I will return to the subject of writing books (and other writing projects) in future posts on this blog. But of course, if you have any comments or questions about book writing, please do post them below.

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Ten Top Tips for First Time and Solo Cruisers

Ten Top Tips for First Time and Solo Cruisers

In recent years, like many older people, I have become a big fan of cruise holidays. This applies especially since my partner Jayne passed away.

Cruises are great for solo travellers, as every day there are different places to see. There are also games and activities on the ship, so you never need be short of something to do.

And most cruise lines make a particular effort to support solo travellers and bring them together, so they have company (if they want it) and don’t feel left out.

Based on my experiences, here are my ten top tips for anyone, single or otherwise, who is considering booking a cruise for the first time…

  1. Pack at least one smart suit or dress. Most cruises include one or more ‘formal’ nights, and you don’t want to miss out.
  2. Plan in advance what excursions you would like to take. This information will generally be available online so you can assess trips carefully and decide which would appeal. You can book on the ship as well, but personally I think it’s better to do this in advance when you can peruse all the information carefully and take the time to make up your mind.
  3. Think carefully about cruising if you think you may be prone to sea-sickness. Once you are on a ship at sea there is no easy way of getting off, and being stuck in your cabin with acute nausea is no fun at all. Cruises on the Med are unlikely to cause this, but cruises on the Atlantic or Pacific (where the sea can be rougher) might. If you’re unsure, start with a short ‘taster’ cruise offered by many of the cruise companies.
  4. Once you are on board, look out for the daily newsletter. This will be put under your door every night and set out everything you need to know about the ship’s itinerary the next day and all the many entertainments on offer.
  5. One thing you will have to do early in the cruise is the lifeboat drill. This involves putting on a life-jacket and assembling at your designated muster point. The drills are a necessary evil, so just do as you are told and ask for advice from the crew if you’re unsure. Remember that as soon as all the passengers are assembled and accounted for the drill is over and you can get on with enjoying the cruise, so try not to be the person who holds things up for everybody else!
  6. One big attraction of cruising (for me) is the range of food on offer, and I especially enjoy the themed buffets. Use common-sense, however, and be wary of eating things such as cheese or seafood that have been left out for a long time.
  7. You will probably be given a special card to show when you get off and on the ship at its various ports of call. Guard this with your life, as without it you could in theory be denied re-entry to the ship on your return.
  8. Be wary of all-inclusive cruises where passengers can drink as much as they like. Some people inevitably overdo it and I saw some VERY drunk (stupefied) people on the one such cruise that I went on. The smell of beery breath in the theatre in the evenings was quite unpleasant as well. Obviously if you enjoy drinking heavily you may disregard this, but one such cruise was more than enough for me. And I would think long and hard before taking children or grandchildren on one either.
  9. Remember that the sun’s rays are reflected off the sea, and in warmer latitudes especially it is very easy to burn. Put on a high-factor sunscreen every day, therefore, and don’t spend too long in direct sunlight. Drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic!) as well, to avoid dehydrating.
  10. Throw yourself into the cruise experience. Keep an open mind and be prepared to try new things such as deck quoits and carpet bowls. These can be a lot of fun, and however bad you are at them, chances are someone else will be even worse! A few people approach these games very seriously and try to win as many as they can, but most just do them for the fun of it. It can also be a great way to meet fellow passengers and make friends.

I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any comments or queries, as always, do post them below. And likewise, if you have any tips for first-time cruisers of your own, please do share them.




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Upgrade and Save Money with Hassle Free Boilers

Upgrade and Save Money with Hassle Free Boilers

Central heating boilers aren’t the most exciting subject in the world, but the huge majority of us in Britain depend on them for heating and hot water.

In recent years boiler technology has improved dramatically and modern gas boilers are vastly more efficient (and environmentally friendly) than their predecessors. But of course, they aren’t cheap to buy and install.

So what do you do if you’re stuck with an old, inefficient boiler that is generating large gas and repair bills or even worse gives up the ghost altogether? If you don’t have a few grand in the bank for a new one, your options may appear limited.

A company called Hassle Free Boilers offers a solution to this problem. They will install a new, modern boiler for you at a competitive price and maintain it for a monthly fee as low as £19.99. You can choose from a range of premium ‘A’ rated Vaillant, Ideal or Worcester boilers. The fee includes annual servicing, breakdown call-out cover, full system flush, thermostatic radiator valves and a magnetic filter to ensure the ongoing maximum efficiency of your gas heating and hot water system.

Hassle Free Boilers have a range of finance arrangements for the boiler, including a ‘nothing to pay upfront’ option. Obviously, though, if you are able to pay an initial deposit, your monthly payments will be lower. HFB quote a representative example on their website of someone paying £1,999 up front for their boiler and installation, followed by payments of £19.99 a month.

Hassle Free Boilers offer a 12-year contract, which in effect serves as a warranty or guarantee. They say, “You’ll always have a gas boiler in your property and you’ll never have to worry again and can get on with the other things you want to do in your life. We’ll always be there to ensure your boiler and heating system do what they’re supposed to throughout this period.”

If you decide to move home, you can pass on the contract to the new buyers if they wish to take it over. Alternatively, you can settle out at any point. HFB say that you could pay as little as £299 in your third year. In any event, whenever you decide to move, they say you will never have to pay more than the price of the boiler.

What if you’re not quite ready for a new boiler yet? Hassle Free Boilers say they can cover your current boiler and central heating until you are ready to upgrade. This cover will include all parts and labour and a full system flush, and you can then decide when you are ready to have your new boiler installed.

Big Savings

There are substantial savings to be made by installing a modern efficient boiler. The Energy Saving Trust say that heating accounts for about 60 percent of what you spend in a year on energy bills. They state that you could save up to up to 40 percent on your gas bill by installing a new ‘A’ rated condensing boiler with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls. In  money terms this can translate to savings of up to £570 a year.

Viewed in that light, Hassle Free Boilers’ offer (including servicing and repairs) provides the potential for big savings, not to mention reducing your carbon footprint and giving you twelve years’ peace of mind. The company are part of the part of the award winning Ecovision (Group) Ltd. They are Which? Trusted Traders and have already installed over 7,000 systems across the UK. You can read nearly 400 independent reviews of the company on the Reviews UK website.

For more information – and to request a free, no-obligation quote – visit the Hassle Free Boilers website or give them a call on 03456 474747.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Hassle Free Boilers for which I am receiving a fee. I am not an employee of Hassle Free Boilers or an affiliate for them.

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Make a Sideline Income Renting Out Your Driveway or Garage

Make a Sideline Income Renting Out Your Driveway or Garage

Today I thought I’d share a sideline money-making opportunity that – if you’re in a position to do it – can bring in a steady income for very little effort.

The shortage of parking spaces in many towns and cities has created an opportunity for anyone who has a driveway or garage they aren’t using all the time.

One of the best-known operators in this field is JustPark. Through their website and mobile app, they put drivers in touch with home-owners (and businesses) who have parking spaces available near their destination. They claim to have over a million registered users and over 200,000 parking spaces on their books.

Listing your space is free (JustPark add up to 25 percent to your asking price and take this as their payment) and you can set your own price, based on how long the driver wants to stay. JustPark say that charges are still typically 60% lower than on-street parking (if you can find it), which makes the service attractive to motorists as well.

One big attraction of JustPark is that they handle all the admin on your behalf. All payments are made via the website, and space-owners can withdraw earnings via PayPal or direct to their bank account. JustPark also ensure you still get paid even if the booker doesn’t turn up.

All drivers using the service have to register on the site, so you know exactly who will be using your space on any given day. There is also a rating system so you can see any comments other users of the service have made about them. Space-owners are also rated by drivers, incidentally.

You can offer spaces by the day, week or month, and set any restrictions you wish on when your space is available. Anyone is welcome to advertise spaces on JustPark, but the locations in most demand are those near airports, stations and stadiums, and in major cities. According to a recent article in the Daily Mail, people in such areas are making more than £3,000 a year doing this. Even if that doesn’t apply to you, though, you can still earn from a few hundred pounds a year to £1000 or more by this means.

Of course, if you don’t have a suitable space to offer, you won’t be able to benefit from this opportunity. You could still use JustPark to save money on your own parking costs, though. Either way, the service is well worth checking out!

Disclosure: As well as being a registered user of JustPark I am an affiliate for them and will therefore receive a small commission if you click through any of my links and sign up. This will not affect the money you earn through the site and/or any savings you make if you use them to find parking spaces.

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PrimeStox - An Unusual Way to Make Money Investing in Food

PrimeStox – An Unusual Way to Make Money Investing in Food

If you’re looking for a more remunerative (and interesting) home for some of your savings than a low-paying bank account, you might like to check out what PrimeStox has to offer.

PrimeStox is basically a crowdfunding platform for high-quality food producers and sellers. These businesses are seeking short-term funding (typically for four months) to make products and get them to market. Once the products are sold, investors get their money back with interest. This is generally around 8% for four months, which works out as an annual rate of around 24%. If you immediately reinvest your money in another project, the annual interest rate will be more than this, due to the effects of compounding.

The opportunity may be best explained by an example, so here’s one product I invested in recently. Scarlett and Mustard is a range of premium salsas, dressings, and so on produced by a husband and wife team in East Soham. They say all the ingredients they use are 100% natural and sourced locally.

Last month they were looking for a total investment of £6,000 to fund 6,000 jars of their tomato salsa range (pictured below). I decided to invest a modest £50, which made me the beneficial owner of 50 jars. All being well, I shall receive £54 (my original investment plus 8% interest) by the end of September 2017.

Tomato salsa jars

You might ask what will happen if they don’t sell the salsa. The answer is that all investments are secured by the products concerned, so in the worst case scenario I will receive 50 jars of tomato salsa, which would keep me going for a very long time! Or I could sell them or give them away to friends, of course.

In practice, though, that is an unlikely scenario. So far all investments on PrimeStox have been repaid with interest on or before the date specified. If there is a problem, all investors vote on how best to resolve it, e.g. by selling the goods to a third party for a smaller margin. It is therefore highly unlikely that you would ever lose all your money.



Primestox Pros and Cons

Obviously, investing in PrimeStox is not as safe as putting your money in the bank. In addition, the money will be tied up during the investment period with no easy way of accessing it (although this.is generally no more than a few months). You shouldn’t therefore invest money you may need urgently in the near future.

On the other hand, there are a lot of things I like about it…

  • Rates of return are highly competitive, even compared with other crowdfunding and P2P investment opportunities.
  • The minimum investment is very low – typically £20. You can therefore test the water without risking any significant funds.
  • If you are prepared to spend a bit more – say £100 or over – in many cases you will receive a higher interest rate.
  • Unlike some other crowdfunding platforms where demand from investors greatly exceeds supply, with PrimeStox there are generally a few days to decide whether you want to invest and how much (though I have noticed that opportunities are filling up faster and faster).
  • You are supporting small businesses in the UK and abroad who are dedicated to producing high-quality foodstuffs.
  • And, as mentioned earlier, as an investor you hold title in the product until it is sold. PrimeStox will even send your share to you free of charge if you want.

As for why producers are offering these sort of returns, it is basically to aid their cashflow by covering the cost of raw materials, production, storage, transportation, and so on. But also, they hope that investors will act as ‘brand ambassadors’ for them, helping to promote the product, and maybe even buying some themselves.

In that spirit, here are links to the three products I have invested in on the platform so far, with the amounts I purchased included.

Scarlett & Mustard – Tomato Salsa – £50

Strong Roots Sweet Potato – £100

Bread Tree – Rainbow Pasta (pictured below) – £56

rainbow pasta

 

There is absolutely no obligation to promote any of the products you invest in, but obviously as an investor you have a financial interest in ensuring they are successful. Investors are also sometimes offered rewards, discounts and other incentives by the producers in question.

Clearly nobody should invest more than a small portion of their savings in PrimeStox, but the potential returns on offer are compelling, and investing this way is certainly more fun than stocks and shares!

If you have any comments or questions about PrimeStox, as always, please feel free to post them below.

Disclaimer: I am an investor with PrimeStox but have no other relationship with the company and am not an affiliate for them. Neither am I advising anyone to invest in PrimeStox. Investment decisions are personal to every individual and if in any doubt you should seek advice from a qualified financial adviser. This post is provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice..




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Find Your Nearest Cashpoint with the Link ATM Locator

Find Your Nearest Cashpoint with the Link ATM Locator

If you own a smartphone (Android or Apple), you can now download a free app that will show you the location of your nearest ATM anywhere in the UK.

The Link ATM Locator, which was launched this month, shows the location of all 70,000 Link ATMs, which is effectively every cash machine in the UK. It was developed with the support of the Thomas Pocklington Trust, a national sight loss charity who work to increase awareness and understanding of the needs of people with sight loss.

When you open the app, by default it shows a map of ATMs close to your current location. Free machines are shown in green and those that charge a fee in purple.

You can also search by town name or postcode if you want to know the location of ATMs there. As I prefer not to post my own address on this blog, here is a screen capture showing cash machine locations in the Tyseley area of Birmingham.

 

Link ATM locator app 01

If you tap any of the coloured dots, it will show you more information about the machine in question, including how much (if anything) it charges for a withdrawal.

 

Link ATM Locator 02

Additionally, by tapping the three-line options menu at the top left of the screen, you can set filters on the display. These include all the following:

  • £5 notes
  • Audio assistance
  • Mobile top-up
  • Wheelchair access
  • PIN management
  • Only free to use

There are a few other options you can set via this menu as well including Favourite ATMs. This lets you request alerts when you are near a particular ATM, in case you want to take the chance to withdraw some money. There are also hints and tips on staying safe when using ATMs.

The app is free to download from the Apple store and Google Play for Android. Just search for Link ATM locator.

I hope you find this app as useful as I do. As a keen smartphone user myself (I have a Samsung Galaxy J5) I plan to discuss other helpful apps in forthcoming posts on Pounds and Sense.

As ever, if you have any comments or questions arising from this post, please do post them below..




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Matched Betting: How to Profit from Acca Insurance

Matched Betting: How to Profit from Acca Insurance

I’ve mentioned matched betting a few times on Pounds and Sense. It’s one of my favourite income-generating sidelines.

To recap, matched betting is a risk-free money-making method that involves (legally) taking advantage of bookmaker special offers. By this means you can generate a guaranteed profit for no risk, regardless of how the event/s you are betting on pan out. You can read my post about how matched betting works here, and my post about why I believe matched betting is particularly suitable for over-sixties here.

In my post today I want to talk about a matched betting technique I’ve been using with considerable success recently. This is profiting from acca insurance. Obviously, for the benefit of those new to betting, I need to start by explaining what an acca is.

What Are Accas?

The term acca is short for accumulator. It is a set of bets (usually four or more) where every bet has to win in order for the acca to succeed and generate a profit. That means accumulators are typically quite risky bets. When one succeeds the returns can be substantial, however, as your winnings are calculated by multiplying all the odds together.

Normally if one leg of an accumulator fails, the whole bet is lost. However, a number of bookmakers offer something called acca insurance with football bets. In this case, if one leg of your acca lets you down, your stake is refunded, generally as a free bet to the same value as the original. By laying off some (or all) of the bets in your acca – and staking carefully – you may be able to take advantage of the ‘added value’ from the insurance to guarantee yourself a profit.

As we shall see there are various approaches you can use, but my clear favourite is the Lock In method. This guarantees a set profit however many legs of your bet fail, from none to all five.

Of course, this profit is less than you would get from a winning accumulator that you didn’t lay off, but as I said earlier accas are risky bets. Using the Lock In method all but removes the risk of losing money (in theory you could still lose if the lay odds on later legs move massively against you, but that is highly unlikely – and much more often the odds actually move in your favour).

Finding accas that will work with this method and calculating the required stakes is not easy if you are working alone. I therefore recommend that you use my favourite matched betting advisory service, Profit Accumulator. They have recently added an online tool called Acca Catcher to the range of resources on offer to Platinum members.

Acca Catcher is an amazing tool that will find accas with insurance for you, show you how much profit they can generate, and reveal exactly what you need to stake on them and when.



About Profit Accumulator

As I have mentioned on Pounds and Sense before, Profit Accumulator is a membership website that provides in-depth tutorials on how to apply matched betting strategies to make money. They also provide special ‘oddsmatching’ software to find suitable bets and calculators to work out the necessary stakes (which is of course crucial).

In recent months Profit Accumulator have added a number of new tools to their Platinum Membership. These include Match Catcher (a tool for those doing horse-racing refunds) and Dutching (a tool for finding arbitrage opportunities among two or more bookmakers). I’ll talk about these in future posts.

As mentioned above, however, the tool that I want to focus on today is Acca Catcher. I will reveal how this works below, though to get full details I highly recommend signing up with Profit Accumulator and watching the training videos they provide.

 

Using PA’s Acca Catcher

Here is a screen capture of the page that opens when you log in to your Profit Accumulator Platinum account and click on Acca Catcher in the Oddsmatching menu. Obviously, by the time you read this, the accas shown will have changed.

Acca Catcher opening screen

Acca Catcher shows a number of accas you can use with this method. By default they are arranged in order of EV, which stands for expected value. This is a measure of how profitable they should be, so the larger the better is the rule here. As you can see, the top one listed here (with the highest EV) Is with William Hill. This is often the case, as William Hill have the most generous terms and conditions and allow you to stake up to £50 per acca (some other bookies limit you to £25 or less).

The QLoss figure stands for qualifying loss. This only applies if you use what they call the Normal method. In this case you stake in such a way that if you end up with exactly one losing leg in your acca you get a free bet (from which you should be able to generate an 80% profit) and with any other outcome a modest qualifying loss. Using this method, on average you should make a profit equivalent to the EV shown. This is typically slightly higher than the profit available using the Lock In method, but of course it is only an average, and some of the time you will lose money.

Personally I prefer the certainty of the Lock In method even if it might be marginally less profitable overall. You may see this differently, of course.

The other things shown on the opening screen are the actual games in the acca, the total back and lay odds, and the start and end dates of the acca.

One other thing you will notice to the left of each acca is a small calculator icon. This is very important, as if you click on it, it will show you everything you need to know in order to extract a profit from the acca in question. So let;s see what happens when we click on the first of the accas shown…

Acca Catcher - calculator page

Note that by default the ‘Normal’ button is selected at the bottom left. As I prefer the Lock In method, however, I have switched it to that.

The calculator now shows you the acca bet you have to make and the first lay. Note that while you place all the back bets together in your accumulator, using the Lock In method you place the lay bets sequentially. This is necessary as the required stake can change depending on whether each leg wins or loses (and after two losing legs with the lock-in method you stop laying).

If we were doing this bet, then, our first step would be to place a £50 acca bet at William Hill containing the five bets shown. We would then lay off the first leg using a lay stake of £47.67, exactly as shown in the calculator.

Once the match has been played and the result is known, we then return to the calculator and click on the green tick on the right if the result was as forecast (in this case a win for Manchester United) or the red tick if it wasn’t (a draw or away win). The calculator then shows us the lay stake we need to place in the next leg (see below).

Acca Catcher - after first leg played

So we now place a lay bet of £73.26 on Manchester City. This process continues until we reach the end of the acca or there are two losing legs, whichever comes first.

Let’s say for the sake of argument the middle leg of the acca loses but all the others win. The final calculator screen will look like this:

Acca Catcher - final outcome

As you can see, because one leg lost, the acca doesn’t pay out and you have made a net loss on it. However, you qualify for a £50 free bet on the acca insurance. By backing and laying the free bet using standard matched betting technique (and the free calculator on Profit Accumulator) you should be able to extract around £40 profit from the free bet. In the example above, as the calculator says, you would therefore end up with a net profit of £9.12. Give or take a few pence, your net profit would be just the same if all five legs won or none of them.



More Acca Insurance Tips

I have set out above the basics of how matched betting with acca insurance works. As I said earlier, I highly recommend watching the training videos on Profit Accumulator to see exactly how it works step by step. Assuming you are a PA Platinum member you can also play about with the software to your heart’s content without spending any money until you are confident with it. Here though are a few more tips to help you on your way…

  • Bear in mind that if you can get better odds than those shown in the calculator, the net profit will be boosted. I find that often as a match gets closer the lay odds will go down, making your bet more profitable. You can enter the new lay odds manually and the lay stakes and profit figures will be automatically adjusted.
  • Sometimes Acca Catcher shows lay odds from Betfair, other times from Smarkets. I use the latter as much as possible, as their fees are lower and it simplifies matters to lay all your bets in one exchange. In any event, it is often worth checking the other exchange, as you may be able to get a better price there than the one shown on the calculator. Exchange prices change constantly, and if there is plenty of time before the next leg you may want to try entering a lay bet lower than the current offer price in the hope that it will be matched subsequently.
  • As mentioned above, an alternative to the Lock In method is the Normal method. With this you aim to have exactly one losing leg in your acca in order to qualify for the refund. With any other outcome (no losing legs or two or more) you suffer a small qualifying loss. With the Normal method, as soon as you have one losing leg in your acca, you stop laying. With the Lock In method, by contrast, you don’t stop laying until you have two losing legs.
  • Another option on the calculator is ‘Lay All’. This is where you lay all your selections at the same time (obviously before the first leg starts). This method only works when all the selections are available at extremely short odds (generally no higher than 1.20). The profits vary according to how many legs win – typically you will make a decent profit if all legs win, but if one loses you will make a very small profit or break even. With two or more losing legs the winnings increase again, but at such short odds this is obviously rare. I haven’t bothered with the ‘lay all’ method myself, but the option is there if you want it. It does have the obvious attraction that you can do all your backing and laying at once.
  • One thing to watch with accas is that you don’t have more than one ending on the same day. In the case of William Hill (and some others) they will only give you one refund per day – so if you have two accas ending the same day, each with one losing leg, you will only get one refund. That would leave you with a net loss on the other acca, of course.
  • As you may gather, I’m a big fan of William Hill, not least as they allow you to stake a generous £50 per acca and have this refunded as a free bet if one leg loses. Using the Lock In matched betting method, I would generally expect to make a minimum of £10 per William Hill acca. I therefore highly recommend using William Hill with this method, but would also advise placing other ‘mug’ bets with them to try to reduce the risk of having your account restricted (or gubbed, as matched bettors say). You can lay off your mug bets to minimize your losses from them.
  • Different bookies have different rules about accas, e.g. Ladbrokes only allow insurance up to a maximum stake of £25 and a smaller range of national leagues is eligible. Other bookies specify minimum odds for each leg of your acca, e.g. with Paddy Power the minimum is 1/5 (1.20 in decimal format). Acca Catcher from Profit Accumulator should incorporate any such restrictions into its recommendations, but it never hurts to check if you are uncertain.
  • When entering results in the calculator, remember that the outcome that counts is the one at full time (90 minutes). Some cup and international matches have extra time if the teams are drawing after 90 minutes, but the result after extra time isn’t relevant for acca betting purposes.

Good luck with your acca insurance bets. If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please do post them below.

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