Re: Any frequent travelers to Hawaii here?
Usually (but not always) the price is the same if you buy them now or up to 21 days before. Then they start going up. The main exception is if the plane starts filling up, they will raise the price of the tickets.
You can get good deals with the non-airline sites (Travelocity, Orbitz, etc.) but those fares are highly restricted as far as changes, etc. Also, if you have a cancelled flight or miss a connection, the cheapie tickets are the last ones to get accommodated on new flights.
Since you are here in SD, Hawaiian Air is probably your best bet, as they have direct service from Lindbergh to the Islands. Pretty much everyone else is going to connect via LAX or SFO.