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Old 06-15-2009, 12:04 AM
 
Location: San Diego, California
2,495 posts, read 5,257,489 times
Reputation: 1801
Smile My observations after living in San Diego for one month!

Recently I saw that another thread here was about someone speaking of their first few months living in San Diego and their observations regarding that. Seemed like that thread was useful to many and well-liked, so I've decided to do my own.

A little background: My husband and I are in our twenties, no kids, no pets. We both have college degrees and work for ourselves doing freelance web development / programming work / web hosting. I am going to go to UCSD for graduate school in engineering. We moved here from Orlando, FL where we lived for four years. Before moving we had visited San Diego and explored the area extensively. We're not "party" people and we don't drink (nothing morally against it though)... just so you know.

Honestly, a good deal of my observations are compared to living in Florida, so they may not be relevant to everyone. The two places are VERY different and thus this was really a major move for us in more than just location.

First off, I'd like to say that I really like it here, so my observations may be skewed on the positive side, however I will try to be objective as possible. I don't want to seem like I'm living in a dream world of the "San Diego utopia" but I will say that compared to Florida, for me, this is much better.

After looking at 20+ places in mid-April, we decided to move to a detached home in Mission Valley in early May. It's in a somewhat congested new-ish community. We pay a little over $2000/month for about 1500 square feet 2/2.5 with a 2 car garage, all upgraded appliances and tile, etc. Honestly I feel that the rent is reasonable for what we have. It's a bit large for us, so we probably could have gone for somewhere smaller and less expensive. We found this place through a private owner (not a management company). I feel that Mission Valley was a good choice for us in a central location, and overall it was a "safe" bet. Where we live though I would never wish to buy a home. First off, there's a psychotic HOA and every house is homogeneous to the next. I definitely think there's a greater value of home in some of the older, more urban areas such as Hillcrest or North Park if I would want to purchase. I have a little potted garden where I've been growing veggies and I love that. The Andersen Garden Center near Rosecrans is wonderful if you're thinking of starting a garden.

One of the things we were concerned with was having A/C in our house. Coming from Florida, the idea of not having central air conditioning was somewhat unbelievable and although several people told us it wasn't necessary, we still insisted on having a place with central air. However...we've been here over a month and I don't think the A/C has turned on once, and we like to keep our house < 75. Definitely something we could have done without. We leave our windows open and get a cool breeze all the time, even at night.

As far as cost of living.... food here is much cheaper than in FL. We are vegetarians, so I'm not sure about cost of meat products, but as far as produce, everything is much less. Plus, there's reward savings cards from Vons and Ralphs, which was something we didn't have back east. Trader Joe's is an amazing store. The only thing about buying things here is the sales tax 8.75% vs the 6.5% back in Florida. Still, we've just transitioned to buying more things online that offer free shipping and it has made up for it (for example, getting paper towels and toilet paper off Amazon ).

We recently formed an LLC and the tax laws are somewhat convoluted and annoying here in California, compared to Florida. We now have to pay state income tax...but we knew that going into having a business here. Basically it comes down to if we make under $250/k year we only owe the state $800 in franchise tax with an LLC.

Traffic here isn't bad at all to me. In Central Florida the main interstate that isn't a toll road is I-4 which is simply awful. Here I drive the 805 and 163 regularly around rush hour and it seems fine, but perhaps I've just been lucky. I will say that I think overall I deal with heavy traffic better than some people based on comments I've seen here, so I may have a bias.

The beautiful scenery / gorgeous weather really improves my mood... which was one reason we moved out of Florida as I'm somewhat prone to depression and being outside and in nice weather helps me out a lot...but that's another ordeal altogether . I will say that if you're in a position where you'd be working indoors much of the time, then it may not be worth the extra cost in rent and taxes to live here... I am fortunate with my current work situation that I can work odd hours, and get out during the day... and really my laptop / internet connection is all I need to work... so I can get out probably a bit more than most people working a 9 to 5. I think that Balboa Park is one of the beautiful places I've ever been (and not to sound snobbish, but I've traveled pretty extensively) and I love the area of Hillcrest.

Although I've seen others say differently, I've found most people here to be very nice and "with it" compared to Florida. Now...granted, Central Florida was probably the worst it gets, so maybe I'm just pleased by comparison. But...literally where I came from most places you couldn't even ask someone a question without them staring at you for 5 minutes trying to get what you were saying. It was awful.

When it comes time that we wish to purchase a home or have kids, my opinion of this city may change. I know very little about schools and I know that home prices are somewhat outrageous... however we are not planning on doing either until we're completely financially sound and have invested money long-term, so that's a ways off.

Otherwise, as a blanket statement I will say that I enjoy San Diego very much, and I'm very happy at our choice to move here. However, I do advise that if at all possible VISIT FIRST! It's very hard to get a feel for the area from afar.

Last edited by thepinksquid; 05-06-2012 at 12:02 PM..

 
Old 06-15-2009, 12:52 AM
 
Location: Paradise/Las Vegas
1,658 posts, read 4,895,763 times
Reputation: 377
Only one month?Stay here longer and some of that will change.
 
Old 06-15-2009, 01:09 AM
 
Location: North of the hood, south of the valley
2,915 posts, read 6,319,205 times
Reputation: 2156
If you are living in the general area that I think you are living, come late July you will be glad that you have A/C. Will you absolutely NEED it? Probably not, but it will be nice to have.

Your other observations seem correct. Produce IS cheaper in California. And other places have far worse traffic than we do. And if eventually you need to economize, there are reasonably decent places for childless couples to live that will be substantially cheaper than $2250/month. As you are figuring out, the whole of outdoors is an extension of your house, so a large house isn't quite as necessary as it would be in Florida in the summer time.

Oh, and you forgot to mention, we have far fewer bugs. And those that we have, aren't man-eating sized.
 
Old 06-15-2009, 01:14 AM
 
Location: San Diego, California
2,495 posts, read 5,257,489 times
Reputation: 1801
Quote:
Originally Posted by jksouthbay88 View Post
Only one month?Stay here longer and some of that will change.
Yes, only one month. This is what I've observed so far. I am definitely open to the idea that my opinions may change and develop over time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kettlepot View Post
Oh, and you forgot to mention, we have far fewer bugs. And those that we have, aren't man-eating sized.
YES! No more flying 4 inch cockroaches...
 
Old 06-15-2009, 05:25 AM
 
Location: San Diego A.K.A "D.A.Y.G.O City"
963 posts, read 1,441,357 times
Reputation: 639
Seriously, what is up with the South having such massive mutated looking bugs? It's crazy, I mean you literally have frogs jumping on your doorstep, and bugs the size of animals It's obviously the humidity.


It will take a few months or more to really start getting into things. Some people that come here from elsewhere are able to switch into Cali mode pretty fast, others it takes time. Since your a young couple, it probably wont take you guys too long.


I don't know what it is, but is it true that most other states hate Californians, like the people from Florida and Texas? I think it's because they feel like we have an attitude problem or something, and were not as "Friendly". Because while in Dallas, I over heard some guy talking trash about me and my friend being from California, they could easily tell, by the way we talked and acted I guess. He was talkin crap how us Californians are rude, just like East Coast people and Chicagoan's Not sure if everyone's mindset in Texas is like that, but if it is, all I can say is "Wow".

I believe our traffic is less of an issue, because we have more freeways compared to Central Florida. SD has a lot of highways which rarely get crowded, unless it's rush hour, but even then, some of the highways are never congested. I think Orlando only has one interstate, so of course traffic will be much worse than out here.

You should really take a trip up to Los Angeles one of these days, San Diego can get boring sometimes, and it's always relieve to go up to LA for the weekend for some entertainment and great shopping. If you want to see bad traffic, then LA is the place
 
Old 06-15-2009, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Palm Springs, CA
25,147 posts, read 14,169,371 times
Reputation: 6395
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdlife619 View Post
Because while in Dallas, I over heard some guy talking trash about me and my friend being from California, they could easily tell, by the way we talked and acted I guess. He was talkin crap how us Californians are rude, just like East Coast people and Chicagoan's Not sure if everyone's mindset in Texas is like that, but if it is, all I can say is "Wow".
Southerners like to think they're friendlier than everybody else. I think they're just more fake.

My experience with San Diego is that people are very pleasant overall. I'm often taken aback with how nice people are when I'm there.
 
Old 06-15-2009, 04:11 PM
 
Location: San Diego, California
2,495 posts, read 5,257,489 times
Reputation: 1801
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnUnidentifiedMale View Post
Southerners like to think they're friendlier than everybody else. I think they're just more fake.
Honestly, I couldn't agree more. Even though I lived in Florida, I was born in and my family is from Boston.. so I feel more influenced from that than the "south" per se. My husband's aunts live in North Carolina, born and raised, and although they appear sweet and "Southern" they're some of the nastiest most condescending people I've ever met. LOL
 
Old 06-15-2009, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Encinitas
1,645 posts, read 2,787,906 times
Reputation: 714
Not to rain on your parade (because I honestly appreciate your positive attitude) but you might want to make it through a summer here before you proclaim your A/C unnecessary.
Come August and September, it'll be pretty toasty. Maybe not Florida humid, but mid 80s for sure. You may need to fire up the A/C!
Congrats on your move and I hope you continue to be happy here.
 
Old 06-15-2009, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Barrio Logan/Shelltown
8,347 posts, read 10,926,693 times
Reputation: 4539
I live in North Park, and have yet to need to buy a window unit A/C. I open all my windows, turn on the ceiling fans, and I'm fine. I grew up in the DC area with the hot, humid summers, where A/C is essential. I also lived in Tucson where A/C is essential. I have no need for it unless I was going to move to East County for some reason.
 
Old 06-15-2009, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Palm Springs, CA
25,147 posts, read 14,169,371 times
Reputation: 6395
Quote:
Originally Posted by thepinksquid View Post
Honestly, I couldn't agree more. Even though I lived in Florida, I was born in and my family is from Boston.. so I feel more influenced from that than the "south" per se. My husband's aunts live in North Carolina, born and raised, and although they appear sweet and "Southern" they're some of the nastiest most condescending people I've ever met. LOL
Yes, they pride themselves on having good "etiquette" - a word that I almost never hear uttered in California, and I'm glad about that.
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