I asked VancouverMom.ca readers what they thought about paying $1,000 for a stroller. Find out what they had to say.
Are you someone who just thinks it’s just plain excessive to spend that much when there are so many people who can’t afford it? Or do you think $1,000 is about right if you want to purchase something if it means your quality of living will be better for you and your child?
Whatever your answer, here are some points to consider when mulling over the value versus price conundrum of your next stroller purchase:
Your Stroller Use
Let’s get honest. Are you really going to be using that stroller everyday? Truthfully, unless you take transit and plan to use your stroller as part of you and your child’s transportation system, are an avid walker, or are otherwise going to be out with baby and the stroller everyday, you don’t really need to invest heavily into your stroller.
When I was on maternity leave, my baby and I would daily brave the Toronto weather – rain, shine or snow. Throughout that year and beyond, I would take my stroller to the dog park, where the stroller would be put to the test of mucky trails.
I needed a stroller that could maneuver well in those conditions and I couldn’t find a stroller below $500 that would do the trick. If on the other hand you were only going to be going to the mall or store a few times a month, an inexpensive umbrella stroller (with an infant seat adapter for the first few months) will probably serve your needs. Personally, if I felt that I could have gotten away with only an umbrella stroller, I would have.
Your Stroller’s Life Expectancy… In Your Family
Are you one of those people who can’t stand seeing a four-year-old in a stroller and hope to have your child walking to the park as soon as they are able? Do you plan on having another child and if so, do you want a stroller that can expand with that child or think you’ll just replace the whole thing anyway? If you don’t think you’ll get more than a year or even two of use out of your stroller and plan on using it once or twice a week for a short period of time, your money is probably better spent elsewhere and opt for a less expensive stroller. Or better yet, get a stroller secondhand on Craigslist, which brings me to another point…
If you want a particular high-end stroller no matter what, but think that the price tag new is too high, then consider used. Whether you buy low or high, I can’t recommend this avenue enough for obvious environmental reasons.
You can frequently get a gently used stroller on Craigslist; the more luxury models are almost always there to be bought. If not, put out a WTB (or “Wanted to Buy”) request in the baby section. When evaluating the stroller, obviously make sure that all the mechanisms are in working order, that there are no stains and that you have all (or as many of) the parts, like an instructional DVD, repair kit or raincover, that originally came with the stroller.
On the flip side, if you must have a stroller new and can afford it, resale is definitely a consideration. The higher end models almost always have a market on Craigslist – particularly if you sell it within three years, although it’s also very possible to sell an older model. So if you do decide to shell out the $1,000 for a stroller, then it’s possible to get even $600 a few years later, assuming that it’s in good condition. Higher end models are generally easier to sell on Craigslist since they are perceived to be of higher quality and be more durable.
Multi-use vs. Specialization
These days, more expensive strollers come with a bassinet feature as well as other clever options. For example, one luxury model has a seat that can be used a stand-alone seat and a bassinet that can double as a bed-side crib or travel bed for your newborn. It can also act as a high-chair when you’re on the go, eliminating the need to purchase your own booster seat. I’ve even heard of people using the hard-shelled bassinet as a portable baby bath! This stroller sells for more than $1,000 but is slightly offset by the cost of these other products (if, of course, you felt they were important to buy in the first place).
Real Cost of a Product
Tangent #1: I recently showed a sample piece of jewellery to someone. The necklace was designed by a local designer and I had it at home waiting to be featured on Breakfast Television. It was absolutely stunning. A piece of art really made by someone who lovingly hand-crafted it. When I showed this person the necklace and told her that it would retail for $150, she nearly choked, telling me she could do better on Craigslist and clearly indicating, without actually saying it, that she thought anyone who would pay more was clearly bourgeois. (Incidentally, I’m wondering if anyone agrees with her.)
Most people these days know that organic and quality products are generally more expensive than mass-produced varieties – and strollers aren’t an exception. Consider all of the engineering and design that goes into these products, as well as the quality assurance testing required to make sure that children are safe using them. To take down the price, many manufacturers will assemble their products in plants located in lower economic communities.
There is also the overall quality of a product. A high quality stroller will last years and years, throughout your family and if sold, for other children’s families. And if the stroller is designed well and can accommodate the addition of future children, either with a wheel-board or a second seat – then even better. These types of strollers often are more expensive, but if you can afford it, it might be better than purchasing two strollers.
Tangent #2: I bought a stove two years ago that cost me $2,000, which is about the mid-level price for a stove these days. My husband and I cook a lot and we immediately saw the value in this purchase: compared to our old stove, the heat was more evenly distributed, things simmered better, and food was generally easier to cook. Subsequently, we were overjoyed by cooking and loved using our new stove.
When I look back at that stove, I wonder why we had remained undecided about the need for this purchase and why it took us so long to take the plunge. I had bought several electronics gadgets, including computers and cameras – and for my day-to-day life, a camera didn’t bring me as much joy or improve my living as much as that stove. But why did I think the camera was more valuable?
Likewise, assuming that you would use that stroller on a regular basis, why do we assume that the cost of a stroller should be less than a digital camera? After all, strollers push around human beings and we entrust the safety and well-being of our kids into the assumed research and design that went into the making of these strollers, which require probably as much engineering time and even more quality assurance, as a digital camera.
But in the end… It comes down to you.
You need to evaluate your own attitudes about money and what you can and can’t afford – as well as what want to and don’t want to pay for. I’m not making a sweeping generalization that you should go out and buy that expensive stroller. Nor am I saying that you’re off base for thinking that a more expensive stroller might be a better buy. Again, it comes down to use, your confidence in the product, as well as where your own comfort levels lie.
Still Can’t Decide?
Still wondering if that high-end stroller is worth it? Download VancouverMom.ca’s Stroller Guide for First-Time Parents!
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