Majority of the cranking and starting problems can be narrowed down to the battery or the starter itself.  Due to the high current demands of the starter (as much are 100 amperes or more), any weak links in the electrical circuits will quickly fail.  Always check battery voltage first before anything else, as this is most easiest to troubleshoot (with a voltmeter).  If the trouble is traced to a bad battery, replacement is fairly easy and cheap.  Replacing the starter would require getting under the car and would require a jack at minimum.  At least a battery replacement would only require a few common hand tools.

The starter is a wear&tear item, so replacement should not come as a surprise.  Usually, the starter does not fail immediately, and it does give a little warning before totally dying.  If you're getting intermittent engagement of the starter, it's a good sign to start saving up for a new one.

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