As said before you don't have to buy maya to use SM.
As for free theres, Maya PLE, GIMP (Free sort of version of photoshop), Video Mach (for creating movies), free video tutorials (on here), free text tutorials (on other sites www.learningmaya.com
for one), and free textures and MEL Scripts, theres even free rendering software (indigo, that mattthman knows all about!)
So theres quite a bit left in the world thats free, unless you want to be charged for it?? J/K.