Welcome to San Diego Dollars and Sense. I’ll still be writing about money and all the ways it can bolster and bruise us — only now I’ll direct my attention to dollars and sense in San Diego. We’ll discuss the best deals on products and services, whether our fearless leaders and/or the marketplace are making our lives more or less difficult, the cost of living in various parts of the city and the absurdities woven throughout.

I’m thinking, for example, of the enormous plastic jar I recently spotted in Costco that held a 30-day or 90-day supply (I can’t remember exactly, but it was a really big jug) of emergency food. It appeared to be some sort of vitamin-infused flake product that you mix with water. You know, in case terrorists attack San Diego and destroy every last can of tuna available. Of all the stuff I think I might actually need to buy — and that list is long — a gigantic bottle resembling fish food doesn’t make the cut.

So say goodbye to Married & Mortgaged and wave a freshly printed American dollar at “San Diego Dollars and Sense.” I’ll be constantly on the lookout for topics so please feel free to share your consumer nightmares, successes, anecdotes and questions. Just don’t confuse me with a typical consumer reporter who’s going to advocate on your behalf every time a clerk mistreats you. And I won’t be ordering pizzas from three different chains to see which one delivers the fastest pie. Make your own pizza at home and you’ll get a much better pizza for a lot less money anyway.

We’ll ask bigger questions here: Are San Diegans saving enough money? Are they spending too much money?

How much does it cost to live in La Mesa compared with Point Loma? Or in Chula Vista compared with Scripps Ranch? Real estate is an obvious measure, but what about gasoline, car insurance and food?

We’ll comparison shop for food, gasoline and a few of San Diego’s great amenities like seaside dining and hotels, great spas and maybe even a little high-priced real estate. We’ll search for inexpensive but original ways to entertain ourselves, and generally have the good life in an otherwise expensive place to live. And we’ll assess how the decisions made by city, county and business leaders affect our ability to make sense of our checkbooks.


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