The only one who benefits from a rent check is the landlord. Renters never see that money again, while homeowners usually profit when they sell. In addition, renters can't use any of their rent payment as a tax deduction, like homeowners can. If you or someone you know is renting, it's time to put that rent check to better use!
The mortgage-interest deduction is probably the best financial argument for buying rather than renting. Consider this example:
If you can afford a mortgage payment of $1,000 (principal and interest only), you can buy a house for $151,426 if you put 10% down on a 30-year mortgage at 8% interest. If your payments started in January, you would pay $10,862 in interest for the first year in the home. That entire amount is deductible on your federal income tax return! Assuming you are in the 27.5% tax bracket, you would save $2,989 in taxes, or $249 per month. So your $1,000 payment is really only $751 when you factor in the homeowner's tax advantage.