Singaporeans foresee smaller bonuses this year compared to last year, but that will not significantly alter the way they spend the money.

This is even though dark clouds are gathering over the global economy and the Government is forecasting more gloom.

That is according to an informal street poll of 100 people conducted by The Sunday Times last Thursday and Friday. Interviews were carried out in Shenton Way and Raffles Place, as well as Bishan and Toa Payoh in the heartland.

Over the next three months or so, companies will start paying out annual year-end bonuses.

Almost three-quarters of those polled by The Sunday Times believe their bonuses will be reduced this year - a view that is supported by human resource experts' own predictions.

'Most companies are very cautious with the bonus payment and would rather save the resources to prep themselves should the economy take a dive,' says Mr Josh Goh, assistant director of corporate services at The GMP Group.

But even with less money in the bank and a worsening economic outlook, most Singaporeans polled have no intention of altering the way they spend or save their bonuses. Three-quarters say they will keep more or less to the previous year's expenditure patterns.

The poll shows that on average, most Singaporeans save nearly half - or 46 per cent - of their bonus, keep aside an average of 7.5 per cent for investments and spend the remaining 46.5 per cent.

Travel tops the expenditure list; nearly a quarter of those surveyed would use the money to go on an overseas holiday.

'I'll still spend my money on travelling, it's a little treat that I can afford,' says 47-year-old teacher Surjeet Kaur.

Splurging on clothes is next, with 13.9 per cent, or one in seven, saying they will spend their bonus money on new fashion wear.

At 11.5 per cent, spending on families and children is another area of focus. In IT-savvy Singapore, 8.5 per cent say they will spend on gadgets, with most saying they will buy the latest mobile phones, laptops and home appliances.

Financial consultant Jansen Kwok, 24, says he has already spent a chunk of his bonus on electronic gadgets: 'I bought an iPad for my mum last year.'

The uncertain economic outlook did weigh on some, however. Nearly one-fifth say they will save more of their bonus this year.

'I don't foresee myself getting more money this year, so I'll be more prudent about saving and not spend unnecessarily,' says Mr Fabian Lim, 28, an engineer in the oil and gas industry.

'I would save more as I may need some funds if I have to change my job,' says Mr Roger Ong, 24, a staffing consultant.

Some plan to invest more of their bonus in an attempt to make more money in a less-than-ideal economic situation.

'I'd rather go into equity investment as it brings better returns, than save my money in the bank,' says 45-year-old marketing executive Jacky Chew.

Despite the volatile environment, CIMB-GK Research regional economist Song Seng Wun, 52, believes there are good investment options for money from bonuses.

'Singaporeans can choose to go for low-risk investments such as switching their assets to the US dollar,' he says, adding that the greenback is a safer bet against other currencies like the euro, and also gold.

While workers should have an eye on recession fears, they should not get paranoid, says Mr Song.

'As long as you spend within your means, bonuses can still be used to treat yourself.'

Most plan to spend

Will you receive more or less bonus this year compared to the previous year?

Less: 73%

More: 18%

Same: 6%

Unsure: 3%

How will you use your bonus this year?

Spend: 46.5%

Save: 45%

Invest: 7.5%

Will you save your bonus differently?

No change: 75%

Save more: 19%

Save less: 6%

What do you plan to spend your bonus on?

1. Travel (23%)

2. Clothes (13.9%)

3. Family (11.5%)

4. IT Gadgets (8.5%)

5. Food (6.1%)