Difficulty of Mining
If you are getting into cryptocurrency late in the game, and don't want to invest a whole lot of money into collecting coins, there really aren't many options out there. Mining popular, non ASIC-resistant coins such as Bitcoin or Litecoin will be nearly impossible with a CPU or even a GPU today. You can expect to get almost nothing for your efforts unless you are ready to invest thousands of dollars to purchase the latest competitive ASIC mining system.
How to get Coins
If you want to get small amounts of cryptocurrency without spending your hard earned money, there are ways to slowly stack up some coins. One possible way is to use cryptocurrency faucets. There are many faucets online that will let you collect small amounts of Bitcoin as often as every hour. Here I will show you a very reputable faucet that has a lot of years of operation under it's belt.
The freebitco.in faucet has been in business since 2013. Here you can claim small amounts of bitcoin every hour, as well as participate in the weekly lottery and stack up some satoshi from referrals. All you have to do is make an account and solve a simple captcha as often as every hour to claim your satoshi. You won't get rich quick using this method, but the idea is to stack up your coins slowly over time. There is a proverb: "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now." You really want to use this method to stack up your coins slowly, and over a few weeks you will have much more bitcoin than what you started with (especially if you started with 0). The best part about this site is you can use it completely for free. It does allow you to deposit bitcoin into your account, but if you choose to not do that you can only gain from this site.
Personally, as a college student, I will sign on using my phone between classes when I remember, to collect bits of satoshi throughout the day. You don't have to spend all day on this site. Even if you sign on every other day to collect you will be better off than having no Bitcoin at all.
Details on FreeBitco.in
Every free roll that you do on freebitco.in will give you satoshi, two or more free lottery tickets and free reward points. Every week a provably fair lottery is held and ten winners will be chosen from a pool of all users holding tickets. You can also purchase tickets with the free Bitcoin you get from your rolls, but you really don't need much to win. You can see people have won places in the lottery with as few as 190 tickets! Only 8 free rolls will afford you the amount of satoshi to purchase 190 tickets.
One fascinating part of freebitco.in is that each game and event on the website is mathematically provable to be fair and impartial. In a future post and YouTube video I will go over how to prove the fairness of each event in detail.