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 sixth-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: $37,499 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. 6, according to MERIC data gathered in the third quarter of 2021.
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 $37,499, on average, according to 2020 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis . Here’s what you can expect to spend across major purchasing categories.
Average Housing Costs in Tennessee: $746 to $1,244 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 about $253,000 in late 2021.
The latest census data gives an idea of what to expect housing costs to look like in Tennessee on a monthly basis:
• Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,244
• Median studio rent: $746
• Median one-bedroom rent: $780
• Median two-bedroom rent: $866
• Median three-bedroom rent: $1,000
• Median four-bedroom rent: $1,148
• Median gross rent: $904
To get a clearer picture of what the Tennessee housing market is like, these are typical home values in some major Tennessee cities, according to Zillow data sourced in late 2021.
Average Utility Costs in Tennessee: $391 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 2021; and Rentcafe.com, What Is the Average Water Bill?
Groceries & Food
Average Grocery & Food Costs in Tennessee: $242 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 $2,906, that’s about $242 per month.
Average Transportation Costs in Tennessee: $5,113 to $13,896 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 data from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator .
Average Annual Transportation Cost
One adult, no children
Two working adults, no children
Two working adults, two children
Average Health Care Costs in Tennessee: $6,295 per person, per year
While the average annual per-person cost of health care in Tennessee is $6,295, according to the 2020 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: $781 to $1,099 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, 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 $20,469 per year, here’s what some of that fun spending might be going toward (costs are accurate as of Nov. 24, 2021):
• A family-friendly day for Dolly Parton and theme park lovers can be spent at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge: Tickets start at $84
• Music lovers can soak up some history at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville: Tickets start at $17.95
• For even more music history stop by Graceland in Memphis, the former home of Elvis Presley: Entrance and tours start at $26 and go as high as $250
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 sixth-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 2021.
With a cost-of-living index of 83.6, 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 84.5. 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 85.4. 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.
Photo credit: iStock/Kruck20 SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. SoFi Home Loans
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. SoFi Home Loans are not available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners. External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or other eligible status and and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, evaluation of your creditworthiness, years of professional experience, income, and a variety of other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or may become available, such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate, NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
✝︎ To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.