One of the first things I did as a newly pregnant woman was to research big ticket items that I would need for the new baby. These items are the ones that you cannot expect friends and family to bring to the baby shower. Having a baby is an expensive business (just ask my husband who had to foot the hospital bill beyond what the medical aid paid) and strollers seem to be just another financial headache. You definitely need one for getting around (because until three or four they just don’t have the energy to walk like we do), but how are you going to afford it? In this post I will make a case for why you don’t have to have the newest, most expensive stroller to meet your and your child’s needs, and how you can choose the one that suits you.
The shop I did most of my research on at the time was Toys are Us / Reggies. This is because, if you are on Discovery Medical aid, they give you some vouchers to use at this store as part of their baby bag. Back in 2011 they gave vouchers for MacClaren (the lightweight/ umbrella stroller) and the super expensive Peg- Perego. (I have no problem if you do have the bucks and want to go that route, many people do. But this post is about saving money).
In the end I got lucky and one of the moms that worked at our school gave me a second hand one for free. It is a Graco, very similar to the one on the back of the latest Living and Loving magazine (Ok it’s a lot older version, but who cares?) What I really like about it is that it has loads of space in the bottom for stuff (great for nappy bag and shopping) as well as a shelf on top (which is great for when I am walking for keys, cellphone and water bottle). It was part of a travel system originally, but since the car seat was covered in mould, I decided to buy a new one instead.
We took off all the material and washed it thoroughly before our baby arrived.
As you can see in this picture, when he was just eight weeks old, the little mite is a little bump in this huge stroller. At two years old now, he is filling it out.
I think this stroller worked out well for us, the only negative thing I will say about it is that you have to pull another lever lower down for it to fold since the one side doesn’t work from the top (not such a big deal) and that a jogger stroller would have worked better for walks. This stroller handles concrete much better than ground. Otherwise I’m happy.
How to choose your stroller:
- Think about where you will be going in your stroller. If you like walking a lot you might want to get a jogger. If you’re only going to be using it for the mall, then a standard one will do.
- Are you going to be holding onto a toddler at the same time? You might want to look at one that folds with one hand, or even consider a double stroller.
- What is your stance on clip on car seats? It may be more convenient to transfer babe from the car to the stroller while he or she is still sleeping, but it also may keep them in the same position unnecessarily for too long, which isn’t great for their development. You can choose whether to go with the normal travel system or frame to clip the car seat in. On the positive side a newborn will be more secure in a car seat – you can see Nicky was way too small for the stroller as a little babe. That’s actually a time for baby wearing.
- What accessories do you need? A tray to put keys, phone, drink / bottle? A compartment underneath for a nappy bag? Bear in mind that some of these can be purchased separately as well.
- Do you need shade? Will you be using the stroller outside much? Check if there is a cover. Some strollers even come with a rain cover too.
- Which way do you want baby to face? Most normal strollers have your baby facing outwards, but some are reversible so that they can be parent facing. There is some debate about whether it’s better to have your child face you or not (for bonding and speech development), but you might want to have that option open.
- What is your budget? If money is no object, you might want to go fancy like Peg Perego or Stokke. If you’re keen to keep expenses down, you may want to use second hand sites like Gumtree (and at the same time you may even find fancy at a better price).
Now that you’ve narrowed down your needs, let’s look at some categories available and some possible price options. Prices were researched on 26 October 2014. You may want to make up your own mind for retailers in store, as I find the internet can be fairly limiting, especially since certain shops do not advertise their prices online.
1. Standard stroller
(courtesy of Gumtree)
A stroller by itself is an option if you prefer not to attach your carseat. My stroller used to be a part of a travel system but in any event if you wanted to buy it by itself Gumtree had one for R350. On a search on Price Check I got R1699 from Guzzle.
2. Stroller frames
(courtesy of Kalahari)
Another option is to use a frame to connect your existing car seat. I found one on Kalahari for R599.
3. Travel system
This is what most parents go for: a set of the stroller and car seat. Sometimes you get more attachments as well.
Here are a few brands I looked at:
Chelino: On Gumtree they had one brand new in the box for R3895 and then other price ranges from R1495 to R650. Baby Fantasy had a few different types: Tazz (R1695) Novella (R2495) and Polo (R1595)
(courtesy of Baby Group)
Graco: Various prices on Gumtree from R1800 to R650. At Baby Group I saw one for R2999 (pictured) and Baby Fantasy had one for R2895.
Stokke: Gumtree had a demo model for R22 000 and the lowest price I saw was R12000 for the travel set. I was unable to find retail prices – I guess this brand is definitely very exclusive.
Peg Perego: Prices on Gumtree that I saw included R3000 and R2200. On Baby Fantasy I saw R6895.
4. Umbrella / Lightweight strollers
(courtesy of Gumtree)
This kind of stroller folds up easily if you have a small car boot and is much lighter than your traditional sized stroller.
On Gumtree I found a Babymoon one for R350 (pictured) and Maclaren for R950. I struggled to find these online and only found a Lite Way one for R899 from Bid or Buy (which also makes use of second hand items).
These strollers are ideal if you plan on walking with your little one over surfaces that are uneven. There seemed to be some disagreement online as to the advantages or disadvantages of having a movable front wheel, but it seems that it makes sense that a stationery one would not catch the bumps as much. On Gumtree there was a range from R3000 (pictured) to R350.
(courtesy of Gumtree)
I struggled to find new prices online. The closest I got was Kalahari who had a whole travel jogger set for R8999.
I then asked Karien, an SA mom blogger who blogs about running with her kids at Running the Race. She has a single stroller called a TFK Joggster 16” which is available from Sproutability for R8500. She has been using it for two and a half years, with a lot off road and it is still as good as new. She also has a double stroller (originally from Dreamer Design) which she got second hand. Her cousin uses a Thule Chariot Cougar from Active With Kids at R9599. Her only complaint is that the kids are not separate so they tend to pull each other’s hair and grab juice pouches!
Her advice for buying joggers would be:
“a) At least 16″ wheels. It just makes pushing it so much easier. (We put “permatube” in ours to prevent punctures – those can be quite a pain.
b) A fixed front wheel. This does make steering a bit harder (you have to “push down” to turn it), but we do a lot of off-road running with both our jogging strollers, and a swivel wheel just shoots off in any and every direction every so often on the gravel.
c) Suspension. Many of the cheaper and entry level models have no suspension, which means that poor baby flies through the air whenever you hit the slightest bump (even on tar).
There are, of course, also a number of strollers available that weren’t specifically made for running (i.e. they have teensy, tiny wheels, etc.), but are used for light jogging, power walking, etc. and work fine. If you’re a serious runner, though, I’d recommend one of the above.”
6. Double stroller
If you are expecting twins, or a second child where the older one still needs a stroller, then this is for you. I found one on Gumtree for only R800. And the fancy Peg Perego (pictured) for R2000.
(courtesty of Gumtree)
It looks like you pay more if the seats are next to each other, if these prices are anything to go by: For sitting side by side: Chelina – Kalahari R2950, Takealot R2969 and for sitting one behind the other: Kalahari R2250 and Takalot R1902.
There is even a company called “Double Trouble” but buying a stroller only from them would set you back R7300.
I’m sure I’ve probably overloaded you with stroller information and your head is in all likelihood exploding at this point. Perhaps it would help to go back to the basics: what do you really need it for and how much are you willing to spend? Once you have those ideas clear in your head, you might even buy a second stroller for a different need because second hand ones are always cheaper. After all, you don’t need to spend a fortune to look and feel fantastic as you travel along in your new ride.
What has been your experience with strollers? Please share your advice in the comments.
This post is sponsored by Gumtree.