Well, I'd like to introduce you to our good friend, Steph E. Steph and I go way back- we went to elementary, middle and highschool together, studied in college and travelled to Greece together, got married a year apart, and are now raising our families together. She is one of my very best friends. She has always, as long as I've known her, been extremely frugal, and never settles for anything less than getting exactly what she wants, for the price she wants to pay. I'm so glad that I have her to do all the researching for me. :)
I hope you'll enjoy her today! Jess
Six months ago we added a beautiful daughter to our family. She joined my husband and I, and our then 3 ½ year old son. I had kept everything from Danny. We had a car seat, crib, and every type of exer-bouncer-sitter-sizer ever made. The only big ticket item that I needed to purchase was a double stroller. This was very exciting for me because I am passionately obsessed with “buggies”, as they are fondly referred to in our home. I started the slightly neurotic and endless research long before she was due, and finally purchased the buggie of my dreams when Ana was 2 months old.
Choosing the perfect stroller for your family’s needs can be a daunting task. There are thousands of options, and even more opinions. To help me focus, I needed to put things in black and white. I made a list of the features that I MUST HAVE in a stroller. Being a bargain hunter by nature I sometime succumb to a great deal, while compromising my needs and wants. My husband made it very clear that we would only be adding 1 more buggie to our already full garage, so I needed to get this right the first time.
My personal MUST HAVE list…
1. Double side-by-side ( I had pushed way too many of my friends front and back strollers to know that my back wasn’t up to that challenge)
2. Very lightweight ( I may be tall, but my arms are like toothpicks)
3. Car seat compatible (Ana was born the end of September which meant that we would just start to be out and about as the bad weather hit. I wanted her to stay warm and sleeping in her car seat while we ran errands)
4. Tall handlebars (as previously mentioned, I am tall and have a bad back. Pushing a heavy object while walking in a hunched position was not an option for me)
5. Excellent return policy ( I was going to make my purchase online, because the prices are considerably better, and most likely it would be the first time I ever saw the option that I chose)
6. Individually removable front trays ( Danny gets in and out by himself, while Ana would need her tray to hold the car seat in)
These were the 6 options that I would not allow myself to waver on. Even if there was a great sale, or a super cute limited edition color, I would not consider it if all 6 of my must have criteria were not met. This list really narrowed down my options.
Next I made a list of the features I would like to have:
- Good storage compartment
- Cup holders
- Individual reclining seats
- Large yet foldable sun shades
- Easy to steer
- Manufacture or retailer warranty
So, of the strollers I had narrowed my options down to, I compared to see which had the most of my “likes” and which “likes” were most important to me.
Next, I started reading reviews. Reading reviews is tricky, you’ll read a 1 star “this stroller is worse than a wheelbarrow” followed by a 5 star “I would trade my first born for this stroller” and you can’t understand how they can be talking about the same buggie. I found the best method was reading many reviews, and seeing if there were any reoccurring themes. 90% of the reviews that I read about the stroller that I finally chose said that the wheels squeaked. I accepted that my wheels would most likely squeak,(and sure enough they did) and that I would be OK with squeaking (which I actually wasn’t, but thankfully my amazing husband was able to remedy that problem).
Finally, do not let price be the largest factor in making your decision. People who know me well would probably be shocked to hear that. I am very cost conscious, but there is more to the cost of a stroller than the number you see posted on Amazon. If you have found the perfect stroller for your family, but it seems out of your price range, don’t give up! There are so many options. Can you buy it used, or in a discontinued color? I got my buggie for a good deal because it was a customer returned open box. It had never been used, and all of the pieces were there but the box had be opened and returned. I made sure to ask what the return policy was for a discounted item. The open box was not advertised online, but I called a company that I found online with excellent reviews, a great return policy, and good pricing. I told the salesman the stroller I wanted but that I needed a good deal. Did they have any returns, discontinued colors, floor models, or last year’s model? The salesperson found the box in the warehouse and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I had decided before calling on the price that I would be willing to spend. If offered a special deal, you need to be ready to say yes on the spot. Don’t let yourself be caught off guard. In regards to cost, I also took into consideration the resale value. A quality stroller that is kept in good condition will hold its value. I hope to sell mine in several years and make back 1/3 of what I bought it for.
So, what baby buggie did I finally decide on? The Peg Perego Aria twin 40/60 split. I am confident that I made the right decision. My friends must have been impressed also, because 2 of them bought the exact same stroller after me, and I believe they are equally pleased with the purchase.
Things to Consider before your purchase:
-Height and Strength of all caregivers that will be using the buggie on a regular basis. Do you need an adjustable handlebar?
-Terrain you will most frequently be pushing on. Grass field or the mall?
- Vehicle size: what will fit in your car when it is also full of groceries and diapers?
- Storage compartment: do you travel light, or is your diaper bag the size of a suitcase?- What your kids need: are they going to be napping in the stroller? Do you need seats that fully recline?
Steph, Jess & Monica