CNC is awesome, but it requires an understanding of the basic underlying concepts, which are best learned on a good old fashioned manual mill.
Well said. Jumping into a CNC without any "hands on" Mill/Lathe Theory is a lot life learning to scuba dive before learning to swim. A manual Vertical with 2-Axis is easier to find in our price range. Then there's the Collets and End-mill Bits, vises, flywheel cutters, etc... not cheap stuff