With a new little one on the way, you're bound to start tallying up all the things your tiny bundle of joy is going to need. For such small creatures, babies come with a lot of baggage. One of the biggest purchases you'll likely make is a stroller. Before you rush out and buy the first stroller you see, you might want to take a minute and jot down some criteria for the perfect stroller. There's a surprising variety in the choices, and you won't want to blow all that money on something that won't fit your lifestyle.

How much do you want to spend?

This is a key point to consider. A quick search on Amazon yielded me results of strollers costing anywhere from $30 to $300, and that was just on the first page of the search results. Remember, as you decide on your budget that the stroller you choose will be carrying some very precious cargo. You'll have to strike a careful balance between quality and frugality. When in doubt, go with quality.

Do you want to buy a "travel system"?

Travel systems include both the stroller and an infant car seat. It's a bigger upfront expense, but will likely save you the extra money you would have spent buying them separately. Plus, you are then guaranteed that the car seat will be compatible with the stroller.

What do you plan on using your stroller for most often?

If you want a stroller for going on walks after the baby is born, you might want to consider buying a jogging stroller. This type of stroller has three wheels instead of four and is designed to minimize jostling the baby when the stroller picks up speed. Will the stroller double as a grocery cart or portable purse? In that case, you'll want to pick one with a larger storage area or extra pockets for small items.

Does fabric design or composition matter to you?

Some strollers are made of more durable, easy-to-clean material. Some are florid pink, and some are a basic gray. You'll have to decide if you want it to be gender neutral, bright, stylish, functional, or perhaps, some combination of several of those.

How much space do you have

? Strollers take up a lot of room, even when they're folded. When you go on longer trips, it won't be the only extra thing you have to cart along for your baby. You may also be attempting to squish extra toys, a bouncer, and a playpen into your trunk and backseat alongside the car seat carrying your baby. Space will suddenly become a rare commodity, so if you can, fold the stroller up before purchasing it so you can see its portability.

Preparing for the coming baby is stressful enough without the added headache of figuring out what stroller to buy. Make it easy on yourself by having a good idea of what you're looking for before you go to the store, or searching online. You'll save yourself a lot of time, and possibly money, by immediately sifting out the strollers you know won't work for you.

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