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The Cost of Living Diaries: Chattanooga, TN

How much does it cost to live in Chattanooga? We asked a local to give us ALL the details.

By Lindsey Hyde on June 13, 2022

Chattanooga TN
Chattanooga / iStockPhoto/Kruck20

Welcome to The Cost of Living Diaries. How much does it cost to live in Chattanooga, TN? What’s an average mortgage, a cocktail, or a week’s worth of childcare? Keep reading because we asked a Chattanooga local to tell us all about the cost of living in this thriving city!

Jessica Jollie, the owner and director of Yoga Landing, a boutique yoga studio on Sidney Street, grew up between Chattanooga and Knoxville. While she moved away to attend college and graduate school and to travel, she moved back to Chattanooga 18 years ago when she was 27. Today, she is married and resides in the area with her family. 

What brought you back to Chattanooga?
Truthfully, I’m a school counselor, and I went to school in North Carolina and I was considering either moving to Asheville or moving back to Chattanooga simply because I have family here. And it was family that brought me back, and I just felt like there were more job opportunities for me in Chattanooga. 

Chattanooga, TN Warehouse Row
Chattanooga / Jeff Adkins

What do you like about living in Chattanooga?
We have a lot of diversity in the city, and I love that. And even though we’re a city, we feel more like a town, where it seems like the longer you’re here – you kind of know so many people. It’s not a small town where everybody knows everything and everybody, but it’s close enough that it doesn’t feel disconnected. 

The second thing…is you can hit a hike, you can camp, you can mountain bike, you can rock climb, you can kayak, you can paddleboard. It is just awesome the outdoor accessibility that we have. 

The third thing I love about the city is the cost of living, which it’s dramatically changing, though, because there are so many people moving here. 

Chattanooga Biking
Courtesy of Corey Templeton under a CC 2.0 license.

What has the home buying process been like in Chattanooga?
When I moved back 18 years ago, I was single and I bought a house. I sold that house; I had a transition home I bought, and now, I’m in my third home that I’ve owned. I just bought my third home three years ago. As a single homeowner, I paid close to $200,000 when I first moved here, and then my current house, I paid $315,000, so it was not a big jump. They’re steals, and honestly, I found fixer-uppers that just had really good bones. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Chattanooga, and about how much would a meal for two cost? 
I would say Niedlov’s (a bakery and café) is one our favorites that’s casual as well as Mean Mug (Coffeehouse)The Meeting Place would be one of our favorites for dinner. At the Meeting Place, dinner would cost probably $150. The Mean Mug is a coffee shop, but they have great breakfast and lunch. Probably $15-$20 a person if you have coffee and a breakfast or lunch and tip. 

Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga / Courtesy of Christian Stewart

What do you like to do for entertainment in Chattanooga, and what are the costs? 

Sometimes, entertainment-wise, we’ll definitely go see a show at the Tivoli (Theatre). We’ll also go see shows at the Walker Theatre. It really depends on the artists, but the average cost is about $40 at Walker Theatre, probably $75 at the Tivoli. 

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