What about option #4 - Redirect your existing domain to the old domain? I bought an old domain that is 100% relevant to my current domain but currently has with very little content. It did have more content fours years ago. The old domain is 13 years old, pr=3, while my current is 7 months old pr=1 and a decent amount of content. The old domain I purchased was not expired though and I do not know if this makes a difference. What are the pros and cons of option #4? Am I correct to think that option #1 would result in no benefit from the old domain's age value and if so why is it not listed as a con, a MAJOR one. Its hard to believe that a 301 using option 1 would give my existing domain 13 years credit but I'll take it if it does.
Your course of action really depends on how much work and effort you can put into the expired domain. If you're barely able to maintain and optimize your current site, you probably want to just 301 redirect the old site (note: see my amended comment above about the link value not likely to be passed). If, however, you're more creative and have some time on your hands, you can try your hand at crafting a microsite. If you really know your stuff and are experienced at making money off various websites, you'd probably do well with the third option.
In theory, you could technically acquire a domain for $10,000 and be able to sell it for $100,000. You could also acquire a domain for $10 and be able to sell it for $100,000, $10,000… or $100, you get the picture. Because of this, it’s hard to recommend a perfect starting budget because your strategy, experience, and the pace at which you learn will hugely affect your buying and selling decisions.