My father passed away in October 2020, leaving me as the inheritor of his savings and house. I’m a 19 year old girl. I know the importance of saving money from my father, who was a kriyaban and lived a frugal life. He always taught me 'simple living, high thinking'. However, with him not around I often get confused about how to spend money, and what are 'necessary necessities' and 'unnecessary necessities'. Whether to go for branded or local stuff. How to spend wisely on the spiritual path?
Think of money as a resource, as is your time and your energy. All our resources ultimately come from God, and as devotees we want to use them to live more completely in attunement with God and the divine plan for us. It is our responsibility to carefully manage the gifts we have been given. What are your priorities? What goals do you have for your life? You could start jotting down some thoughts and then take the question into meditation or prayer to get further clarity. This will help you understand how you would like to use the money you have inherited to support these goals and priorities.
The spiritual life is about simple living and high thinking as your father said. But there is no need to live in poverty unless you currently lack the financial means. Tune in to what is ‘simple living’ for you. When contemplating a purchase, it is wise to ask questions such as: Is it necessary? Is it necessary to have the branded item or the unnecessary necessities? Which items are of good quality that will provide lasting value? Sometimes the occasional ‘indulgence’ helps make life beautiful, enjoyable, and fun. When you purchase something very special you might celebrate it as just that: something to be appreciated and given energy. Share your enjoyment with God. The opposite tendency which is so common is to spend money to indulge a desire only to be tired of the acquisition almost immediately, tossing it aside. This dishonors you, the source of the energy, money, and the item that was purchased.
Learn how to properly manage the assets you have inherited so as to not waste them. A trusted advisor can be very helpful here since there are details to know about responsible stewardship of property and savings. If you have read Autobiography of a Yogi you might remember Yogananda’s guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, carefully managed his property and money, and he was able to remain financially independent as a result.
Think of all you do as serving the Divine in some way, uplifting consciousness in yourself, and uplifting others. Keep this aspiration in mind as you manage money, not only now but throughout your life.