I moved from Atlanta to Nashville 10 years ago, and even moving that short distance opened my eyes to the vast differences between those two parts of the country, especially when it came to cost of living.

If you’re considering a move to Nashville, there are many factors that affect your true cost of living in the Music City. The cost difference can depend on what city you’re moving from and what area of Nashville you settle in. Some cost of living factors to consider include utilities, average home costs, and taxes.

Cost of Living

Thecost of living in Nashville is based on a few different things / Shutterstock

From Numbeo, the average four-person family in Nashville has estimated monthly costs of around $3,100 without rent, whereas a single person has costs of $880 without rent. Those monthly costs translate to a 32 percent lower cost of living than a bigger city like New York.

To help you compare your current salary to a new Nashville salary, the CNN Cost of Living calculator looks at many aspects of moving from one city to another including transit, taxes, and utilities. Also, the NerdWallet City and Salary Comparison Tool does a great job comparing city and salary data to let you know how far your dollars might go in Nashville.

Seeing that bottom line difference can be a big help in budgeting. These numbers translate to your salary dollars potentially going further in Nashville since it’s a city ranked in the top 100 cities of Niche’s 2018 Cities With the Lowest Cost of Living.

Buying a Home

Homes in the Nashville Area / Shutterstock

While home prices vary widely from Downtown Nashville to Murfreesboro to Nolensville, SmartAsset puts the median Nashville home price at $187,200 just under the national average of $208,700. Having a median home price around that national average can make a move between cities not as much of a real estate shock.           


Turbines along Nashville highway / Shutterstock

Weather data shows that with typically mild winters and hot summers, Nashville residents could have lower heating costs than other wintry cities, but they still need to run air conditioning. Nashville’s average utilities are a little higher than the national average. Per the US Energy Information Administration, the average monthly utility bill in Nashville is $127.68 which is higher than the overall United States average of $114.09. When I initially moved from the Midwest to the South, I also discovered an unexpected cost savings related to weather; I no longer needed heavy winter snow gear and could get by with a light jacket.


The capitol building in Nashville / Shutterstock

With any move between different states, checking in with a CPA to get information on tax ramifications is a good idea. While Nashville has no personal state income tax, the base sales tax rate is 7 percent with different surrounding counties and suburbs adding between 1.5 percent and 2.75 percent, pushing the overall sales tax rate to almost 10 percent. That’s one of the highest sales tax rates in the country. The first time I bought groceries in Nashville, that number on the receipt for sales tax was a little shocking. Bottom line is you might have more money to spend with no state income tax in Nashville but every time you buy something, you are paying nearly 10 percent in sales tax. 

Another tax consideration is property tax. Per the SmartAsset Property Tax Calculator a $250,000 house in Nashville would have annual property taxes of $2,500. To see what your specific property tax would be, enter your city and home value in the SmartAsset calculator.


MTA Bus / Photo by Michael Rivera / CC BY-SA

With low maintenance and annual ownership costs, Tennessee ranks number 20 in the Huff Post Most (and Least) Expensive States To Own a Car. However, if you buy a new car in Tennessee, the high sales tax will hit your wallet making it over $600 more expensive to buy a car in the state than the national average. However, when you register your car, Nashville alternately has one of the lowest vehicle registration costs in the country with vehicle titling fees just $11 and annual registration at $25.

Mass transit options in Nashville are limited to the MTA bus and train options with transit not reaching the suburbs. A one day adult pass is $1.70 with a 7-day pass priced at $16 and a 31-day pass at $55.                                               

Cost of Food

Nashville Farmers Market / Photo by Rex Hammock / CC BY-SA

Per Numbeo, the average cost of fast food is $7 per person, a fast casual restaurant is $13 per person, and a meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant is on average $55. SmartAsset found Nashville food costs average $268.61 per month based on the same Numbeo figures. As you look at costs of living in the food category, keep in mind that Nashville does tax groceries at varying rates.