Do you know? It is Akshaya Tritiya today in India. God bless you all with abundance and prosperity.
Akshaya means that which has no depletion or exhaustion. Tritiya is the third day of the month. Today is third day of Baisakhi month. It is considered to be auspicious to buy Gold (or at least silver) on this day and place it before Goddess Lakshmi. Goddess will bestow it with never ending prosperity and abundance. Your prosperity will grow for ever with Her grace by doing so. This is what we Hindus (most of us) believe.
It does not mean in this way. The point here is that this is the auspicious time for purchasing Gold and Silver. Placing it before God is for obtaining Her blessings. God is a giver. Not a taker. Your prosperity grows with the blessings obtained.
It is not necessary. You can offer anything or simply seek the help or blessings of God. I said it is our faith and belief only. For more details, I refer you to this link which I found just now.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akshaya_Tritiya