You might want to look into a part ownership of an aircraft, or just buy one (used) outright. That's one way to get a cheap hours. However, I think it comes out to be the same if you rented... You're just paying the money up front.
Also... beg, borrow, and steal your way into the right hand seat of any aircraft that you're certified to fly.
However, I'd recommend going the instructor way because the instrument part of flying is sooo complex.
Once you get your instrument and commerical... I'd throw out any ideas that you had of becoming an airline pilot. Sorry... but you're a little high in age to get any seniority that would make that job worthwhile. If I were you, I'd go the corporate way. Be a pilot for a corporation and fly their aircraft. Many times the corporation only owns one aircraft and you're their only pilot. This is appealing for some people because they enjoy getting to know everyone within the company.
Also there is no age limit for corporate pilots... and you get to land in some unique airports!
This field is expanding... One airline that comes to mind is AirNet (or something like that). They have a fleet of planes and corporations pay a certain amount and they get access to different airplanes depending on the package they bought.
I hope this helps!!! I'm sorry if I peed on your parade...
- Neil Harrison