If you enjoy sunny days but also want to experience all of the seasons (no shade meant toward California), then you’ll appreciate the fact that Tennessee has about 207 sunny days a year, two more days than the national average.
The mild weather in Tennessee (the state gets about 5 inches of snow per year, compared with the U.S. average of 28 inches) is just one of the draws. The fact that the Volunteer State assesses no state income tax and has the tenth-lowest cost of living in the country is also appealing.
What is the cost of living in Tennessee? Keep reading to find out.
What’s the Average Cost of Living in Tennessee
Average Cost of Living in Tennessee: $42,469 per year
If you’re planning to move to Tennessee, your monthly budget might get a nice break. Why? Tennessee is among the most affordable 10 states, at No. 10, according to MERIC data gathered in 2022.
You could hop down to Mississippi (the lowest cost of living among 50 states and the District of Columbia), Alabama (fourth lowest), or Georgia (fifth lowest), but Tennessee is more affordable than nearby states like Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida.
So what is the average cost of living in Tennessee? Total yearly personal consumption cost is $42,469, on average, according to 2021 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis . Here’s what you can expect to spend across major purchasing categories.
Average Housing Costs in Tennessee: $828 to $1,477 per month
Considering that Tennessee is one of the cheapest states to live in, it comes as no surprise that the average home price is on the lower side. Zillow calculated the typical home value as $291,334 in February 2023.
The latest census data from 2021 gives an idea of what to expect housing costs to look like in Tennessee on a monthly basis:
• Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,337
• Median studio rent: $828
• Median one-bedroom rent: $894
• Median two-bedroom rent: $944
• Median three-bedroom rent: $1,087
• Median four-bedroom rent: $1,320
• Median five-bedroom (or more) rent: $1,477
• Median gross rent: $981
To get a clearer picture of what the Tennessee housing market is like, these are typical home values in 20 major Tennessee cities, according to Zillow data sourced in January 2023.
Average Utility Costs in Tennessee: $389 per month
While not the most exciting expenses, utilities are a necessary one you’ll have to finance every month. Here’s what utilities tend to cost on a monthly basis in Tennessee.
Average Tennessee Bill
Cable & Internet
Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Sales, Revenue, and Average Price, 2021; Inspirecleanenergy.com; DoxoInsights, U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report 2022; and Rentcafe.com, What Is the Average Water Bill?
Groceries & Food
Average Grocery & Food Costs in Tennessee: $251 per person, per month
A major contributor to your cost of living will be your grocery spending. So how much might you spend on food if you move to Tennessee?
If Tennessee’s average annual (non-restaurant) food cost per person is $3,016, that’s about $251 per month.
Average Transportation Costs in Tennessee: $5,477 to $15,530 per year
Going to and fro can add up, especially if you have a big family. This is a basic breakdown of how annual transportation costs can vary based on family size in Tennessee, according to 2023 data from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator .
Average Annual Transportation Cost
One adult, no children
Two working adults, no children
Two working adults, three children
Average Health Care Costs in Tennessee: $6,946 per person, per year
While the average annual per-person cost of health care in Tennessee is $6,946, according to the 2021 Bureau of Economic Analysis report, what you will actually spend on health care may look very different.
Health care spending is determined by location, medical needs, and coverage.
Average Child Care Costs in Tennessee: $899 to $1,398 or more per child, per month
No matter what state you live in, child care is often a big expense.
Residents also don’t have to pay a state income tax in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Washington, South Dakota, Texas, or Wyoming.
Once you’ve tackled all of the necessary expenses, it’s time to enjoy yourself. If estimated personal expenditures are $24,051 per year, here’s what some of that fun spending might be going toward (costs are accurate as of March 2023):
• A family-friendly day for Dolly Parton and theme park lovers can be spent at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge: Tickets start at $89
• Music lovers can soak up some history at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville: Tickets start at $27.95 for adults
• For even more music history stop by Graceland in Memphis, the former home of Elvis Presley: Entrance and tours start at $28 and go as high as $215
How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Tennessee?
We all have our own idea of what it means to live “comfortably.” Your family size, income, lifestyle, and location can all influence how accessible a comfortable style of living is.
Remember that MERIC views the cost of living in Tennessee even more favorably, finding the state to have the tenth-lowest cost of living in the country.
What City Has the Lowest Cost of Living in Tennessee?
If you’re eager to make a move to Tennessee but are on a budget, you’ll want to find the right spot to call home. These are the three major cities with the lowest cost of living, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index for the second quarter of 2022.
With a cost-of-living index of 84.9, Knoxville is the most affordable major Tennessee city to live in, the council found. From museums to nightlife to fine dining, Knoxville offers a lot of bang for the buck.
Next up is Jackson, with a cost-of-living index of just 86.1. You’ll hear Jackson referred to as Hub City. This city is located between Memphis and Nashville, which means you’ll have access to big-city amenities. Jackson is known for being the home of rockabilly, so get ready to meet lots of music lovers.
The third-most affordable city in Tennessee is Memphis, with a cost-of-living index of 87.2. This city is famous for its barbecue. You may want to make room in your budget for checking out beloved restaurants like A&R Bar-B-Que and the Bar-B-Q Shop.
SoFi Home Loans
With Dolly, Elvis, rockabilly, and barbecue, the Volunteer State offers a taste of the South at an affordable price. If the low cost of living in Tennessee is appealing, you may find yourself thinking about houses.
Although there are many home loans on the market to choose from, SoFi offers a range of mortgage loans at competitive interest rates and with as little as 5% down.
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