7 Cheap Places to Live in Tennessee Right Now

Affordable Places To Live In Tennessee Are Easy To Find

Are you looking for one of the cheap places to live in Tennessee? Then you have come to the right place.

You probably know this fact. That where you live has a big impact on your finances.

Thus, choosing a place in Tennessee with a low cost of living. Is very important.

So, I’m going to review the cheapest places to live in Tennessee. And share with you some other good things to know. About moving to “The Volunteer State”.

Let’s get started…

cheapest places to live in Tennessee

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Cheap Places To Live In Tennessee

First off, I will get right to the point. Here’s my list of inexpensive places to live in Tennessee:

  1. Chattanooga
  2. Clarksville
  3. Johnson City
  4. La Follette
  5. Rockwood
  6. Lexington
  7. Paris

Allow me to use this list as an outline. For the next section of the article.

And in this section, I will answer three big questions. About each of these cheapest places to live in Tennessee.

  • What does it cost?
  • Where is it at?
  • What is it like?

Then I will share some other good tips about Tennessee and its low-cost places. Also, some other thoughts about living in Tennessee on the cheap.

That’s the plan. And I’m sticking to it!

But first, let me set the stage for you…

Why Are Tennessee Places So Cheap?

As I look at these towns and cities in Tennessee. I’m going to focus on housing costs first.

Specifically, median home value. And apartment rents.

Because for most people. Their homes make up the biggest part of a monthly budget.

And by choosing a place in Tennessee to live. You are getting a head start.

Since Tennessee home prices are 29% lower. Versus the U.S. national average.

And rent for an average 2 bedroom apartment in Tennessee. Is 26% below the national average.

So, keep in mind that Tennessee is one of the least expensive states in the country. So, as compared to the rest of the U.S. These Tennessee places are cheap. Right from the start!

This means you can stretch your household income. Living in the cheapest places in Tennessee.

And for what it’s worth. The median household income in Tennessee is in the bottom one-third of all states.

So, residents need to make every dollar count.

No further delays. Because it’s time for our affordable cities to live in. Located in “The Volunteer State”.

Whether you are looking for a place to retire. Or, just want a fresh start in life. Tennessee may be the state for you!

cheap places to live in Tennessee

1. Chattanooga

We will kick it off with Chattanooga. One of the cheapest cities to live in Tennessee.

What Does It Cost To Live in Chattanooga, Tennessee?

Median home prices: 9% below the overall state median price

Average 2 bedroom apartment rent: About the same as the Tennessee average

Where is Chattanooga, Tennessee Located?

Chattanooga is located in the Southeastern part of Tennessee.

Not far from the western tips of the Carolinas. Being North Carolina and the state of South Carolina, collectively.

And right across the border from Georgia to the Southeast. Also, Alabama to the Southwest.

Where the corners of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama come together.

And within a day’s drive. To the beautiful beaches located in Florida on the Gulf Coast.

What Is Living In Chattanooga, Tennessee Like?

Chattanooga is the 4th largest city in Tennessee. Based on population.

So, you get some city vibe. But if you also like the outdoors. Then you are in luck.

Because the city is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. And on the banks of the Tennessee River.

So, get out. And enjoy the great outdoors in Chattanooga.

2. Clarksville

Next up is Clarksville. It’s not the least expensive place to live in Tennessee. But it has a lower cost of living. And is a good place to live (my personal favorite on today’s list).

Plus, it’s our first of 3 places. Located in the Western half of the state.

What Does It Cost To Live in Clarksville, Tennessee?

Median home prices: 3% below the overall state median price

Average 2 bedroom apartment rent: Not a big savings if you plan to rent in Clarksville. Versus other Tennessee places.

Because rents are about 7% higher. Versus the Tennessee state average.

Where is Clarksville, Tennessee Located?

Clarksville is located in the central west part of the state. Right at the northern border. Across from Kentucky.

And near a popular outdoor recreation area. Called “The Land Between The Lakes”.

Drive a few hours to the West. And you can find yourself in the state of Missouri.

That is if you are interested in exploring the Lake of the Ozarks. Or, Branson, Missouri. Known as the live music capital of the world.

What Is Living In Clarksville, Tennessee Like?

Clarksville is the 5th largest city in the state of Tennessee. But it’s not that big.

With a population of less than 300,000. The town still has a small-town personality.

And a downtown area that is quite pleasant. Where the buildings have a historic feel.

The population is generally younger than other areas of the state. Partly because the town is host to a military base and a large university.

First, there is the Fort Campbell Military Base. It is a big part of the town’s economy.

Second, we have Austin Peay State University. It supplies some of the cultural amenities. That can be lacking in other small towns.

3. Johnson City

Here is another one of the cheapest towns to live in Tennessee. That being Johnson City.

What Does It Cost To Live in Johnson City, Tennessee?

Median home prices: 10% below the overall state median price

Average 2 bedroom apartment rent: 14% below the overall state median rent

Where is Johnson City, Tennessee Located?

Johnson City is located in the far northeastern tip of the state. Just west of “The Tar Heel State” of North Carolina.

A short drive to the North will put you in the state of Virginia. Head South from Johnson City and you will find yourself in North Carolina.

What Is Living In Johnson City, Tennessee Like?

Johnson City’s metropolitan area has about 200,000 residents. But, it still ranks as the state’s 7th largest  area in the state

Enjoy the sunny days and mild winters. And bring your hiking boots. In case the trails in the Appalachian Mountains call your name.

And if you need the feel and amenities of a larger city. Then Asheville, North Carolina is only about an hour away. And a great place to visit.

It’s time for number 4 on the list…

low housing costs

4. La Follette

Now we are going to talk about some real cheap living in Tennessee. As we move into some of the small towns.

And La Follette is first up. It might be the cheapest city to live in Tennessee that made my list.

What Does It Cost To Live in La Follette, Tennessee?

Median home prices: 47% below the overall state median price

Average 2 bedroom apartment rent: 27% below the overall state median rent

Where is La Follette, Tennessee Located?

La Follette is a 2 plus hour drive West of Johnson City. And just 40 miles North of Knoxville.

It hugs the Northern border of the state. Just south of the Kentucky line. In the Northeastern part of the state.

What Is Living In La Follette, Tennessee Like?

La Follette is a small town. With a population of fewer than 10,000 residents.

It is located in the Cumberland Mountains. And is nearby Cove Lake State Park.

With nearly 700 acres of rolling land. where you can camp, and enjoy the outdoors.

5. Rockwood

Here is another one of the most affordable places to live in Tennessee. It is Rockwood, TN.

What Does It Cost To Live in Rockwood, Tennessee?

Median home prices: 39% below the overall state median price

Average 2 bedroom apartment rent: 12% below the overall state median rent

Where is Rockwood, Tennessee Located?

Rockwood is another town in the Eastern portion of Tennessee state. Less than an hour’s drive from Knoxville.

It is equal distance from the North and South Tennessee state lines.  But less than 100 miles from the North Carolina border. And Great Smokey Mountain National Park.

What Is Living In Rockwood, Tennessee Like?

Rockwood is another small town. Having a population well less than 10,000 residents.

But city leaders brag it up. They consider Rockwood “a special place to live, visit, work, play, and raise a family.”

The area is home to the Kingston Avenue Historic District. It represents historic architecture.

But many of these old homes have been restored. And the area was certified as a historic location in 1997.

6. Lexington

Ready for our next cheap town in Tennessee? I hope so.

Because we are heading back to the Western part of the state. And looking at a town named Lexington.

What Does It Cost To Live in Lexington, Tennessee?

Median home prices: 39% below the overall state median price

Average 2 bedroom apartment rent: 7% below the overall state median rent

Is Lexington the most affordable place to live in Tennessee? Probably not. But it’s in the running.

Where is Lexington, Tennessee Located?

Lexington is in the West-central part of Tennessee state. Midway between Nashville and Memphis.

You can also head straight West for about 100 miles. And you will enter the state of Arkansas.

Or, if you prefer. And are looking for some real Southern hospitality. You can head south.

To visit the state of Mississippi. For all, that state has to offer.

What is Living In Lexington, Tennessee Like?

Once again we have another small town. With a population of fewer than 10,000 residents.

If you are looking for a quiet lifestyle. Pretty far removed from the population centers of the state. Then Lexington may be the town for you.

A good place to kick up your feet. On a Tennessee homestead.

7. Paris

And last but not least. For the cheapest places in Tennessee to live.

We have Paris. And I’m not talking about France! But the town does have an Eiffel Tower!

What Does It Cost To Live in Paris, Tennessee?

Median home prices: 43% below the overall state median price

Average 2 bedroom apartment rent: 27% below the overall state median rent

These prices look pretty good to me. Is Paris the cheapest place in Tennessee to live?

I don’t know for sure. But, it’s right up there.

Where is Paris, Tennessee Located?

Paris is located in the Northwest quadrant of the state. Just south of the Kentucky border.

It is about 60 miles West of another one of the places we have discussed. That being Clarksville.

What Is Living In Paris, Tennessee Like?

Paris is yet another small town. With a population of about 10,000 residents.

The city is considered an attractive retirement destination.  And city leaders actively promote the area for new retiree residents.

Town features include the Eiffel Tower Park. Also, a quaint downtown area.

And when you are done exploring the town. Venture out to Kentucky Lake and Paris Landing State Park. For some outdoor fun.

Okay. That concludes my review of 7 cheap places to live in Tennessee. But here are a couple more honorable mentions that did not make my list of 7.

They also are cheap places to live in Tennessee:

  • Oak Ridge
  • Cookeville

But I promised to give you some more insight. About inexpensive Tennessee places. And how you can save money there. Here goes…

affordable places to live in Tennessee

Where To Find Cheap Places To Live In Tennessee

Stick to the smaller towns. And you will generally experience a lower cost of living.

But if a bigger town is more to your liking. Then it’s hard to go wrong with Clarksville or Chattanooga.

They are larger cities. Without the big city hassles. And they won’t break your budget.

Where You Won’t Find Cheap Places To Live In Tennessee

On the other hand, to live cheap in Tennessee. Stay away from the 3 largest metropolitan areas:

  • Nashville
  • Memphis
  • Knoxville

Nashville and the surrounding areas have become quite pricey. Because the city’s popularity has exploded in recent years.

Other Facts That Make For Cheap Places To Live In Tennessee

Next, here are a few other things that will keep your costs low. No matter where you choose to live in Tennessee.

Mortgages & Credit Checks For Cheap Tennessee Living

Do you need a mortgage for that new home in Tennessee? Then consider LendingTree.

They have fast, affordable online options. And you can learn more about Lending Tree here.

Then make sure you keep an eye on your credit score. Because you need a strong credit rating when seeking a mortgage. Or, applying for an apartment lease.

So review your credit score for free using Credit Karma. Then work on getting it in the best shape possible.

Let’s talk about taxes next. But, I won’t bore you with it for long…

cheapest towns to live in Tennessee

Cheap Places To Live In Tennessee: No State Income Taxes

Tennessee is one of only 9 states in the country. That does not levy a state income tax on its residents.

So, make as much money as you like. And Tennessee won’t take any of it by taxing your income!

Cheap Places To Live In Tennessee: Reasonable Real Estate Taxes

Real estate taxes are a function of two things. First, the value of your property. And second, the real estate tax rate.

Tennessee wins in both cases. Combining low property costs. And reasonable real estate tax rates.

Putting Tennessee in the top one-third of all states. For the lowest real estate taxes in the country.

So, I hope you can see. Tennessee is a very tax-friendly state.

Save Money On Education Living In Tennessee

Then we have the Tennessee Promise program.  For higher education scholarships and student mentoring.

It is focused on increasing the number of students that attend college in the state. So, the program provides aid to those students wanting to attend community college.

And individual guidance to assist the student. As he or she transitions to post-secondary education.

It’s a nice program. For students who do not have the financial privilege. Of heading off to any college of their choosing.

Other Cheap Costs For Living In Tennessee

By now you know that my town-by-town review focused on housing costs. Since they make up the largest part of most people’s budgets.

But rest assured, other costs in Tennessee are quite affordable. Things like groceries, utility bills, and gas for your car.

They will all run cheaper than the national averages. Bringing down the overall cost of living in the Tennessee towns and cities we have talked about today.

But there’s more. Here are a couple of other money-saving tips. No matter where you choose to live in Tennessee.

Make Tennessee Living Even Cheaper

Are you looking for ways to save money before, during, and after your move? Then here are a couple of money-saving tips that work in Tennessee. And anywhere else for that matter…

We save on all of our everyday online expenses. And do so by using the cashback app Rakuten. And for a limited time, Rakuten is offering $10 cash just for signing up and making your first purchase.

Then we also save on our visits for food at the grocery store. Using the Ibotta app for saving money on every trip. You can learn more about Ibbotta here.

Okay. That’s all of the Tennessee money tips I can come up with for you today. So, let’s wrap up with a summary.

Then you can decide for yourself. What is the cheapest place to live in Tennessee?

Summary: 7 Cheap Places To Live In Tennessee Right Now

7 affordable areas in "The Volunteer State"

Here’s my best list of the cheapest places to live in Tennessee:

7 Cheap Places To Live In Tennessee

  1. Chattanooga
  2. Clarksville
  3. Johnson City
  4. La Follette
  5. Rockwood
  6. Lexington
  7. Paris

Making Cheap Places In Tennessee Even More Affordable

And don’t forget about these other things. That makes Tennessee less expensive than other places:

  • No state income taxes
  • Reasonable property taxes
  • Tennessee promise scholarship program
  • Below average costs for groceries, utilities, and gas

Now you know about the cheapest areas to live in Tennessee. And some of the other ways you can save money living there.

Not sold on Tennessee living? Then, directly south, Alabama offers affordable living too. Just a tip on something else to think about.

But most all, my best wishes. No matter where you decide to live.

Additional Reading About Cheap Places To Live & More!

If you liked reading about these less expensive places to live in Tennessee. Then here are some related articles you may enjoy…

For Cheap Places To Live In Tennessee: Favorite Resources

I mentioned several resources throughout the article. They are summarized here for your convenience:

conclusions about cheapest cities to live in Tennessee

Disclosure & Disclaimer: I am not a licensed investment adviser, financial adviser, or tax professional. And I am not providing you with individual investment advice, financial guidance, or tax counsel. Furthermore, this website’s only purpose is information & entertainment. And we are not liable for any losses suffered by any party because of information published on this blog.

Cheap Places To Live In Tennessee