Attention New Yorkers — Your Utility Bill Rose 165% in the Past Year

While rent prices hold steady, utilities continue to go up.

Expensive and New York City are practically synonymous these days, but the extreme upward swing in how much it costs to live in the Big Apple from 2018 to 2019 might even shock the most weathered New Yorker. According to a recent GOBankingRates study that analyzed the cost of living in the United States’ 50 biggest cities, New York City saw its annual expenditures rise 10.44 percent year over year, from $39,816.34 in 2018 to $43,975.09 in 2019.

To determine the cost of living in America’s 50 biggest cities, GOBankingRates analyzed the cost of living index for groceries, utilities, healthcare, rent and the median household income. For this study, transportation was not included as the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ expenditure multiplier caused the data to become an outlier and skewed the final results. Once all the data was compiled, the annual expenditure amount was calculated by adding together the annual spending for each category. GOBankingRates then used the 50/20/30 rule which assumes that 50 percent of income goes toward necessities, 30 percent goes toward discretionary spending and 20 percent goes toward savings. The final results for New York City were eye-opening.

Click to See: These Are the 50 Best Cities for Renters 

Renting Actually Saves You Money in New York City

It might sound counterintuitive, but renting will actually save you money in New York City. A monthly mortgage payment in 2019 in New York City comes out to $3,178, which totals $38,136 for the year. That’s exceptionally high, given that the median salary in 2019 in the state of New York is only $57,782.

But when you compare the cost of an average monthly mortgage payment in New York City to the average monthly rent payment of $2,349, you would save $9,948 a year. Also, with rent in New York only rising 5.6 percent, or $125, since 2016, you are living in a more stable market than that of the ever-changing housing market.

Annual Expenditures for Renters in New York City, from 2016-19
YearAverage Rental ValuesAnnual Rent PaymentAnnual Expenditure on GroceriesAnnual Expenditure on UtilitiesAnnual Expenditure on HealthcareTotal Annual Necessities Expenditures (50%) If Paying Rent
2019$2,349$28,188$5,017.45$5,792.36$4,977.28$43,975.09
2018$2,292$27,504$5,250.46$2,177.88$4,884$39,816.34
2017$2,301$27,612$5,173.08$1,532.88$3,624$37,941.96
2016$2,224$26,688$5,189$1,592$5,142$38,611.00

Utilities in New York Have Soared Since 2016

While the cost of rent is an often-reported figure, the cost of utilities is typically ignored. But over the past year, the cost of utilities (water, gas, electric, internet) has skyrocketed in New York. Three years ago in 2016, the average annual utility bill came out to $1,592. That number, however, has risen 263 percent to $5,792.36 in 2019. Furthermore, just in the past year, annual utilities rose 165 percent from $2,177.88. With ConEd already planning more price increases, this figure looks like it might only rise further.

Read More: New York’s Most Expensive ZIP Code Might Surprise You

According to the Department of Energy, you should set your thermostat as low as is comfortable during the day. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours to save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills. Also, if you live in a climate where it cools off at night during the summer, turn off your cooling system and crack open your windows while sleeping.

While New York City will never make a list of the most affordable places to live in the nation, there are ways to make the city relatively more affordable to its residents. Whether that’s going to the grocery store rather than opting for take-out, renting rather than paying an expensive mortgage or applying simple energy hacks that can save you a significant amount on your utility bill.

Keep reading to see the cost of living around America.

More on Economy

Methodology: GOBankingRates found the cost of living in America’s 50 biggest cities by analyzing the following factors: (1) Cost of living index for groceries, utilities and healthcare sourced from Sperling’s Best Places. Each index was multiplied by the annual expenditure amount in each category from the Bureau Labor of Statistics’ 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey, which measures household annual mean expenditures to determine the annual mean spending for each category; (2) Rent costs were sourced from Zillow’s February 2019 rental value index for single-family residences, and were multiplied by 12 to obtain an annualized yearly spending on rent; (3) Mortgage rates were based off Zillow’s February 2019 median home value, and Zillow’s mortgage calculator was used to determine the monthly mortgage payment for each city based off the respective city’s home value and a 30-year fixed loan. Mortgage payments were multiplied by 12 to obtain an annualized amount; (4) Median household income, before taxes, was sourced from the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. Once all the data was compiled, the annual expenditure amount was calculated by adding the annual spending for each category. GOBankingRates found the annual expenditures for individuals making a mortgage payment and for individuals making a rent payment. The median income was then subtracted by annual expenditures for those paying a mortgage and those renting to see how much money was needed or left over for each city. GOBankingRates then used the 50/20/30 rule which assumes that 50 percent of income should go towards necessities, 30 percent should go towards discretionary spending and 20 percent should go towards savings. The 50 percent income is the city’s annual expenditure and that amount is used to find the additional income needed for splurges and savings.