I have always been fascinated with programming, though I've never delved too far into it. I took some classes in high school, but other than that I haven't done anything worth mentioning.
As a hobby, I thought that I'd like to get into it and actually learn to program something (I'm not sure what exactly).
There's so much information out there, though... I don't know where to begin. If someone could recommend a place to download a good compiler, and point me towards some e-books (free preferably, I don't want to spend $40-50 only to realize programming isn't really for me) or tutorials I'd surely appreciate it.
I'd start off with simple console applications. Your best start point would be the good old "Hello World" program, I guess. There's a few tutorials on this very site: http://www.cplusplus.com/doc/tutorial/
I can't really advise as far as books, I'm afraid. I learned most of my C++ stuff at university and the only book I really used was The C++ Programming Language by Bjarne Stroustrup. Even then, that was only as a reference. There are probably a few more tutorial based books out there, but I'd wager you'll be able to find everything you need to know on this website.
One final resource is the one you're already using; this forum. As long as you show a willingness to learn, people are always happy to help.
Those are both good sites which shows great tutorials, and if your looking for a compiler, i would recomend bloodsheds dev c++ its a free software you could download, it only weighs about 6mb(i think) and provides both c and c++ programming.
Also, dev-C++ is an IDE, not a compiler.
Code::Blocks is an IDE that's often more highly regarded than dev-C++, and is at least worth checking out.
I think you'll find that there are a lot of beginner tutorials on the internet. There are even online webpages intended to act as 'books' to learn C++. Although, in personal experience, I've found it incredibly hard to learn from anything that isn't in written text in a book in front of me. But of course, that could just be a personal quirk. Worst case scenario, you've spent $25-30 on a book you won't finish reading. But I understand why that could be a hassle. If you're still young, push your parents into paying for it. Hah :)