I live in a fairly large home here in CA, where it's very hot during the summer. I keep it at 77 degrees for the AC around this time of the year. Last summer my energy bill was ridiculously high because of the AC unit. Should I still go to a higher degree?
It sounds to me like your AC isn't working efficiently and/or you have a house that leaks cool air like a sieve. I'd start with researching whether you have a large enough AC for your home and then determine whether your windows need to be upgraded. You can also use fans for air flow.
We've had a terrible time keeping air conditioning costs down. I found some ideas online like checking for leaks in windows, doors, roof, etc. as well as keeping shades drawn. Also, be sure to change your air filters regularly too.