Sometimes it's a hit or miss, you either make money or you don't. Then you might look into developing something new, but it will probably be better then the last project because you will have more experience.
Python is more of a scripting language then anything. It's commonly used with other languages. As someone else stated you could also use pygame, or even use python with OpenGL and write the entire game in pure python.
C# is also a good candidate to make games at a faster pace. Easy to learn and easy to work with but limited on the platforms.
If you have a good idea, some good progress and you feel you need some money, well you could always start a campaign for funds example indiegogo.com, kickstarter.com.... are great sites where you could start a campaign, tell others about your ideas. If people like your idea then you will probably get a bunch of donations.
You might even want to look into working with a team(independent small company or just people like your self who want to do this on the side).
Honestly there are tones of possibilities out there, you just need to find what works for you, and have an end goal. Games take time and dedication!
SDL 2.0 is still active! It has come great ways since the old 1.2 version that was also used in pygame extension. If you are going 3D then you are probably going to be using OpenGL and SDL, SDL would just handle window creation and input or even Allegro and OpenGL together. Note SDL and Allegro 4.X and bellow are 2D graphics libraries, in Allegro 5.x up they seem to have added built in function but I read that their not that great, so you would probably end up using Allegro with OpenGL. I haven't used Allegro since a couple years back, was the first library I learnt for 2D games then we started using SDL and Ive been liking it since. I have SDL working on all platforms also with no problems, currently working on iOS app using SDL and OpenGL. Also note to get the latest SDL you need to download it from the Mercurial repository. SDL also has SDL_image, SDL_ttf, SDL_mixer, SDL_net library so you can add audio, text, load other image types, and networking, they all come separate. Also you say that no one has answered your SDL question? from the SDL website? I check in there almost every day and most questions get answered, sometimes it can take a day or two since many members work a full time job and help out with SDL on spare time.
I know you're not looking to spend money but C4 Game Engine is very C++ oriented, and it comes with demo games that you can run or even modify. Standard Edition is only $250 unless you plan on making PS3 games then Standard Edition is all you need, you can even sale the game after. Just opening up another suggestion.
I have used Ogre3D not a big fan of it either but its C++ oriented as well only good thing about it is that it's free.
Scripts are simplified versions of programming languages, so that designers are other non-programmers—or programmers with extremely little skill—can work with them.
Scripting also saves on compile time, normally saving the programmer time in the long run. Also sometimes you want to make a minor change and instead of compiling the whole program again you can modify the script
In order to use C++ with any engine on this planet, you will have to buy a full-sized professional company license, and that is always going to cost far more than you can afford.
Ogre3D uses C++ and its free, looks like we are from different planets? Plus I just suggested C4 Game Engine that also uses C++ heavily and the cost is only $250 and comes with source(I don't really see this being a wallet breaker) plus you get unlimited updates to the engine.