What software can I use to build Flash without Adobe Flash? I can't afford $500+ for the Adobe Software and wonder if there are freeware / shareware available for doing flash sites?

If you just need to build websites, you can consider flash builder software such as A4DeskPro (http://www.a4deskpro.com).. However, if you want to do actionscrip and advance animation then you have to use Adobe Flash.