For many people, the whole Bitcoin / CryptoCurrency is difficult to comprehend.
Luckily more and more startups make it easier for everyone to adapt and use this new technology. You don't need a degree in IT anymore to start using one of the many cryptocurrencies out there, such as bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, etc. These are often referred to as 'coins'.
To pay for goods or services using cryptocurrency you need 2 things; a so-called wallet that's filled with a certain amount of cryptocurrency. While Bitcoin is the most famous, there are actually thousands of cryptocurrencies out there.
Due to the popularity of Bitcoin, it often happens the Bitcoin network becomes congested, resulting in an increased transaction time (sometimes up to 8 hours). Ethereum often faces the same problems. A good comparison between the most popular coins can be found here.
In order to obtain cryptocurrency, you need to exchange so-called 'fiat money' (USD, EUR, CAD, GBP, etc..) into the coin of your choice. This can be done on numerous online exchange services.
One of the most accessible and trustworthy ones is Coinbase. They provide a full-service solution and will provide you with a secure online wallet and an exchange service. Depending on where you live you can either buy coins using a debit or credit card, bank transfer or other methods.
One important fact to remember is coins aren't interchangeable. In other words, you can't send litecoin when you're asked to make a bitcoin transaction. You would first have to convert your litecoins into bitcoins before you will be able to make the transaction. There are services such as Shapeshift that make it easy to exchange one coin for another.
Coinbase (and all of its peers) is heavily regulated and has to comply with AML (Anti Money Laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations. This means you have to provide them with a copy of your government ID and a proof of address (POA).
If you don't mind going through the identification process our suggestion would be to open an account at Coinbase. If you reside in a country Coinbase doesn't operate, feel free to leave a comment and we'll suggest the best alternative for you.
If you would like to learn more on this topic, you can find a good introduction into cryptocurrency here.