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Dave Says!
Dear Dave,

I have a rental property that I still owe some money on, and I’ve just begun Baby Step 2 of your plan. Should rental property debt be included in the debt snowball?


Dear Matt,

No, it shouldn’t. Baby Step 2 of my plan is where you use the debt snowball to pay off all debt — from smallest to largest — except for your home. This, of course, comes after Baby Step 1, in which you save up $1,000 for a beginner emergency fund. I would include rental properties in the “home” category, and I urge people to get serious about paying off their homes a little further down the road in Baby Step 6.

To fill in the gaps, Baby Step 3 is going back and fully funding your emergency fund with three to six months of expenses. Baby Step 4 is investing 15 percent of your household income in Roth IRAs and other pre-tax retirement plans, and Baby Step 5 means setting aside college money for the kids. Baby Step 6 is where you pay off your home, including any rental properties that weren’t already paid for in cash, and Baby Step 7 is when you relax, build wealth, and give.

If it were me, I would pay off my primary home before taking care of the rental properties. That’s simply a risk management perspective. Now, if you owe just $20,000 on your rental property but still have a $3 million mortgage on your residence, you might go ahead and knock out the rental property first.

Hope this helps!
Dear Dave,
I recently started my own business, and I know I’m supposed to pay taxes quarterly. How do I budget for those, and how much do I save?


Dear McKenzie,

You should always establish a separate checking account when you open a business. All your business income, and nothing else, should go directly into that account. Nothing else goes in or out of that account except for business expenses. What you have left, by definition, is profit.

When you take that home, set aside 25 percent for your federal, quarterly estimates. In most cases — especially with a small, start-up business — that will put you pretty close to what you’ll need. If you make more than $60,000 to $70,000 in profits, however, you may want to kick that percentage up a little bit. It’s always better to save too much than too little.

Best of luck, McKenzie!

* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 13 million listeners each week on 585 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

November 2017 Extra from Dave Ramsey

Budgeting for November                                                  
Courtesy of
In November, we travel and we eat. We shop for Christmas gifts, and we eat some more.
The best way to enjoy this time of year, and not lose control of your money, is to make a budget for the month’s special costs. With that in mind, here are some budget items to be ready for in November:

Are you hosting Thanksgiving Day dinner for your family, or bringing your favorite side dish to a potluck? Either way, you’ll need pots, pans, and casserole dishes. Cookware discounts can be as high as 80 percent in November, so it’s a great month to budget for them if you need to add or replace an item in your collection.

Higher Food Costs
Plan your Thanksgiving recipes ahead of time, so you can wow friends and family with your cooking (and budgeting) abilities. If you’re hosting out-of-town family for more than a day, you’ll want to budget even more for extra meals and restaurant visits.

The last weekend of November is when you’ll find all the big, crazy sales. Set aside some money so you can take advantage of the great Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts on things like clothes, televisions, and other technology.

Pet Boarding
Just because you got an invitation to Aunt Elizabeth’s fancy Thanksgiving dinner two states away doesn’t mean Fido did. If your pet isn’t making the trip with you, make sure to budget for boarding fees.

Holiday Travel
Plane tickets and hotel rooms aren’t the only travel costs to account for this time of year. Snacks at the airport, Uber or cab rides, parking garages, tips, and extra gas money are some of the smaller expenses that can slip under your radar.

Christmas Decorations
You’re probably excited to string up lights as soon as you’re done eating turkey on November 26th. If you’re also in the mood to buy a peppermint scented candle or a new Christmas wreath, make sure to set aside money to pay for it.

Higher Utility Costs
Low temps mean high heating bills. Keep your budget from getting burned by increasing the amount you plan to pay for electric or gas heating.
Remember, when you make a plan for your money each month you’ll have more peace of mind. And who doesn’t want to enjoy their turkey in peace?  

Used with permission from

July 2017
"Extra" From Dave Ramsey

Rachel’s five easy tips
for back-to-school budgeting                                                  
by Rachel Cruze

Can you feel it? Fall is right around the corner, and that means it’s back-to-school time!
Hopefully, you haven’t waited until the last minute and you have most of your shopping done. If not, that’s okay! Here are a few guidelines as you get everything together for your child’s first day back in the classroom.
  1. Make a budget . . . and stick to it. Whether you’re heading to Target this afternoon or a week from now, you need to make sure all your back-to-school costs are included in your monthly budget. And if you’re not in the habit of making a monthly budget, well, this is a great opportunity to get a little practice! Check out It’s our free budgeting tool, and it’ll help you make a budget you can actually stick to!   
  1. Focus on needs, not wants. Your 8-year-old might want the fancy Lightning McQueen backpack, but that doesn’t mean they need it—especially if it’s $20 more than a basic backpack. I’m not saying you can’t make back-to-school shopping fun, but don’t overspend just because your kid throws a fit in the backpack aisle. 
  1. Keep it simple. Remember, you just need the basics to get started—not everything you’ll need for the entire school year. If money is tight, buy the minimum your child needs right now then work the rest into your budget over the next few months.
  1. Talk with your kid’s teachers. If you haven’t received a list of items your child needs for the upcoming year, be sure to touch base with the school and reach out to the teacher. Most schools are pretty good about covering this type of information at orientation or open house, so hopefully you’ll have what you need from them well before you head out to shop.
  1. Look around online. Some of the best deals are online. Start with Amazon, then do some research and see what else you might be able to order without even leaving home. You might consider buying pencils, paper and other items that you don’t necessarily need to see before you buy. You might save money, and you’ll definitely save time!
It’s not too late to make sure you’re doing back-to-school shopping the right way. Make a budget, keep your priorities in check, and don’t let the little ones talk you into buying stuff they don’t really need. Use the back-to-school season as a great opportunity to get your finances in order before the holiday season hits in a few months!
About Rachel Cruze
As a #1 New York Times best-selling author and seasoned communicator, Rachel Cruze helps Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored two best-selling books: Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Cruze on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at, or


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