Christmas in the red

There are warnings that millions of Brits will slide into debt this Christmas because of the pressure to spend more than they can afford.

An investigation by Good Morning Britain found that instead of banks, many people are turning to illegal lenders. Almost half of those who've borrowed money for Christmas this year have used loan sharks, with more than three quarters already struggling to pay it back.

It comes as the National Debtline today warned that nearly a quarter of us feel under pressure to overspend during the festive period.

We're joined by Debra Wilson who ended up paying back £88,000 after borrowing just £500 from a loan shark 15 years ago along with Tony Quigley from the Illegal Money Lending Unit.

Catch up with GMB on The ITV Hub

Nectar points double-up and free Santa letter

Sainsbury’s Nectar double-up, 20% off gift cards, free Santa letter, Megabus seats and a chocolate lolly. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.

Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.

Martin's deals of the week

Best savings for two years, cheap Chanel smell-alike, free dough balls, 2for1 Starbucks and big London discounts tonight. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.

Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.

18-month fixed rate savings – highest since May 2013

By far the highest savings interest rates available are bank accounts, which offer high rates on small amounts, as a loss leader to tempt you to switch. For the best of those see Martin’s 5% interest paying bank accounts guide. If you’ve done that (or don’t want to switch) then you’re talking normal savings.

Six months ago the best sub two-year fixed savings deal was 1.9%, now it's 2.4%. This rise is likely due to new 'challenger' banks boosting competition and the view UK rates were on the up. Yet last Thursday Bank of England Governor Mark Carney shifted his stance to say rate rises could be as far away as 2017 – just four months ago he was predicting this winter. That could (it's not certain) dampen fixed rates, so locking in now may be a winner.

- Top pick: 2.4% fixed for 18 months: Fixed savings ensure a certain interest rate but LOCK IN your money so you’ve no access. Metro Bank’s just launched its 2.4% 18-month fix (min £500), beating nearly all the best two-year fixes available way back to May 2013. But since speaking about it on TV this morning, and due to unprecedented demand you can now only open the account in branch. These are scattered across London, Greater London and South-East England (find your nearest here).

It’s one and three-year deals were top but a new Shawbrook Bank 2.15% and 2.45% deals are pumping it. The best easy access savings deal is The West Brom BS at 1.55%.

Cheap Coco-Chanel smell-alike perfume

Smell-alike perfumes are supermarket and store-bought own-brand perfumes that have similar smells to the big designer perfume brands – but different names, packaging and, most importantly, different prices.

These are not copies. Yet we’ve noted a remarkable similarity in the smell of the perfumes, as well as the bottles and boxes in some cases.

On Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 November, Lidl’s Suddenly Madame Glamour will be half price at £1.99 (usually £3.99) in stores nationwide. It’s massively popular and will go like hot cakes because it’s a smell-alike of Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle perfume – a 50ml bottle from Debenhams costs £61.20. In my blind-test with 30 people, three couldn’t tell the difference, and of the 27 that could, 16 preferred the cheaper perfume.

Martin’s Quickies

- Free £4ish dough balls – Pop in to any Pizza Express today only (Thursday) and say the magic password ‘FREE SNOWBALL DOUGH BALLS’ and you’ll get a free portion of £4ish dessert snowballs to take away (if you want to eat in you’ll need to order a main course too). The dough balls are made with cinnamon and dusted with icing sugar and come with a vanilla dip.

- 2for1 Starbucks Christmas drinks. Just print a Starbucks 2for1 voucher or show it on your smartphone from today till Sunday (2pm to 5pm) and you can get a small, medium or large festive drink (eg, the ones in the red colour cup like eggnog latte, toffee nut latte etc). They usually cost between £3.15 and £3.75. It’s doing this to launch its new festive drinks.

- Flash 20% off Carnaby stores. Register for a free ticket on the Carnaby website and either print it or show it on your smartphone to get 20% off a host of Carnaby Street and surrounding streets’ stores like Benefit, Dr Martens and Levi’s, or restaurants like The Diner, Cinnamon Soho and Dirty Bones. Large crowds are expected, so be prepared to queue.

Web exclusive: John Lewis and Debenhams up to 25% off

If you go online to Debenhams or shop in store you'll find up to 25% off items from all departments until 11.59pm or end of trading on Sunday. Delivery's £3.99 or you can collect from a store for free. If you’re spending £50 or more and enter the code LM94 you can get an extra 10% off most items, including those in the up to 25% off sale. Rival department store John Lewis is currently price-matching an “unnamed competitor’s promotion”, and I suspect, wink wink, it’s referring to Debenhams (this is what’s happened in the past). It’ll match the sale, just not the additional 10% off code.

Martin's got some corking deals

New 22mths 0% NO FEE debt shift, £8 champagne trick, Eurostar seat sale, £25 off La Redoute and 20% off M&S. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.

Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.