Dear Dave: I’m single, have no kids, and I’ve paid off all my debt. I’m ready to move to Baby Step 3, and increase my emergency fund to cover three to six months of expenses.

Now that I’m gaining control of my finances, the idea of leaving apartment life and owning a home is more appealing.

Should I consider a rent-to-own deal on a house when the time comes? –ALEX

Dear Alex: I wouldn’t go that route.

In rent-to-own scenarios, you pay more in rent so that some of it will go toward the down payment if you buy the home. However, in most rent-to-own deals, the renter ends up not buying the home. The net result? You paid more in rent, and you still don’t own a home!

In your situation, being a single guy with no kids, you’re better off to continue renting a while longer and save money like crazy.

That way, you can look around, find something you really like, and make a big down payment. And make sure you get a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, where the monthly payments are no more than 25 percent of your take home pay.

Good luck, Alex! —Dave

Dear Dave: My husband and I owe $3,500 in federal taxes, along with $3,000 in state taxes. We’re both still working during the pandemic scare.

Would it better to wait until the new July 15 due date to pay taxes, and pay off other debt in the meantime, or go ahead and pay state and federal taxes now, and take care of our other debts with what we have leftover monthly? – ERICA

Dear Erica: If you’re talking about back taxes, I’d say pay them now. You don’t want to play around with the IRS, because they can really mess you up if they decide they’re coming for you.

But if you’re talking about taxes for 2019, I’d go ahead and include them in your debt snowball.

If you need to move them up in your debt snowball in order to pay them on time, that’s fine. Whatever you do, don’t pay them late. Sit down together, and lay out a game plan that includes paying your taxes – and all your other debts – on time!

– Dave Ramsey offers financial advice as host of a nationally syndicated radio program, “The Dave Ramsey Show.” Locally, his program may be heard from 6 to 9 p.m. weekdays on TALK 104.1-FM WKCT. For more, visit www.daveramsey.com.

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