Fusion 360 is free for startups earning under US$100k/year, hobbyists and students/educators.
Its a 3 year license, but when that time comes, if you still qualify then you can just renew the free license.
Check out Compare Fusion 360 vs Fusion 360 for Personal Use | Autodesk
I have been using the shapeoko 3 for a few years now (had the smaller original size, now XXL) and find that I use different software depending on the job. This is my take on it:
Carbide Create - is awesome for learning the machine, is very powerful for “2.5d” work (i.e no 3d contours) and the guys are constantly updating the software so it just gets better and better. definitely the best place to start as you’re getting used to the machine.
Fusion 360 - is awesome for 3d machining, dual sided parts, making parts that need to fit together. The learning curve is a lot steeper, as Fusion is fully featured CAD software, with a CAM feature built in. I found as I was learning the CAM side, that it was a lot harder to get what I was expecting out of the machine. However now I use it a lot and though there is a lot to learn I get good results with it. I haven’t had a lot of luck V-carving with Fusion 360, I will often cut the part with Fusion then do the V-carve in the vectric software
Vectric V-carve/Aspire - there are several versions of this software, V-carve which is the base level, great for v-carving - It has a built in trace tool, so you can download a picture from google, import it, trace it, then V-carve it. It’s great at doing relief carvings that you buy or download, and VERY good at creating efficient code without much hassle - I have found that if you are cutting out 25 small objects at once, it can be 3-4x faster than the other software, often with a better result. Its very simple and quick to do small jobs like a basic box or cutouts, and supports tabs which is a helpful addition. I personally use Aspire, which is at the top of the Vectric tree, it’s great for the above, plus has a few more features around 3d modelling and nesting multiple parts into one cut. The newer version also supports 2 sided machining. Aspire costs more than the machine does… big downside.
I have no experience with meshcam, but I heard great reports about it, I believe it comes with the Nomad CNC.