How to have a midlife crisis on a budgetWhile a new study published this month says that men in a midlife crisis are more likely to buy an expensive bicycle than a sports car, I want to respect the traditional avenues for middle-age acting out.

Many of us of a certain decade who have more hair in their ears (and noses) than on their heads want to know that the old standbys, such as more horsepower, are within reach. Here are some potentially pricey possibilities with a bargain alternative.

One note before we begin: Hooking up with a young chickie on the side didn't make the list because it's tacky, and it could cost you dearly: The average payout for a divorce settlement with two lawyers going toe to toe costs $27,000, increasing to $78,000 if the case goes to litigation, according to U.S. News and World Report. But one hour of couples therapy to begin saving your marriage runs about $100. That's a bargain.

On with the list:

Try this: Renting a Harley-Davidson ($106.33 a day in some regions)
Not that: Buying a Harley-Davidson (starting at $8,299 for the 883 Low Sportster).
Nobody wants to discourage you from becoming a middle-age cliche. Just don't go whole Hog at first. Even a lower-end
Harley carries a hefty sticker. Rent one for a weekend to make sure you're committed -- to the price, the risk, the family nagging -- before you buy. Test one at a dealer. Then go ahead and get your toy.

Try this: Bungee jumping ($129 for two jumps)
Not that: Skydiving ($85 to $125 for one static line jump; $250 for accelerated free fall)
If you really must do this, then take a flying leap into less-expensive thrill-seeking. Aren't you glad to be alive -- and with more change to buy drinks afterward?

Try this: Walking, push-ups, situps (FREE)
Not that: Personal trainer ($60 to $70 an hour)
Go from flab to fab without cracking your nest egg. Now that's personal growth. All you need to work up to is 1 hour 15 minutes of intense activity (jogging, hiking, skipping rope) a week or 2 1/2 hours of moderate exercise (walking and gardening)
plus push-ups and sit-ups a few days a week, according to the Health Department's Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. For a more chiseled torso and more cardiovascular fitness, you might try Hindu push-ups. Get clearance from your doc -- the last time you ran around the block, you had a mullet, remember? Now take the money you would have given that clipboard-carrying cheerleader and save it for new pants.

Try this: Pierced ear ($20 to $55)
Not that: Tattoo ($75 to $150 an hour)
If Harrison Ford can pull off the earring, then maybe you can, too. Besides, it's less permanent than a tattoo and you'd sound dorky saying "I had ink done."

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