I think if you're not enjoying the peasant format with its bad fixing, you should probably just be looking to build a lower power level legacy cube. If you're willing to break the peasant restriction for fixing, why not also break it to allow for decent rares?
I would do a maximum of 10% gold, and a minimum of 10% fixing lands. Probably more on lands, like 12-13%
Welcome back to cubing, and congratulations on the coming birth of your son.
Until last year I’d stopped cubing as much. I moved away from my regular mtg group and didn’t find a replacement.
What got me back into it were my sons, particularly the older one. Both had learned to play magic with my old cards but it has become a popular pastime with their peer group. So I built a new cube for my boys and their friends to play.
The result is in my sig as a Beginner Cube. It strongly pushes 10 2-colour archetypes, but there is a fair bit of overlap: W/G tokens helps R/W go-wide aggro; B/R madness/hellbent helps U/B reanimator; and so on.
I went for modern cards only, ideally with post-M10 templating for consistency, and have avoided expensive cards.
I’m quite pleased with the results, and although the format is perhaps not as skill testing, it produces cohesive decks that are reasonably balanced and certainly fun.
My suggestion for building a budget Cube, therefore, is perhaps not to go for a watered-down version of a powered cube, but to pick some archetypes you enjoy and build your cube around those with the best cards you can afford.
Budget mana bases are an issue, though, without the dual/fetch/shock trifecta.