EPerk, if it makes you feel any better, I never raised the hood on my car except to add oil when the oil light came on until about 6-8 weeks ago when the dealership told me I needed to spend $1000 on a tune up or it would not make it out of the driveway.
Since my first post I have changed the spark plugs and wires, replaced the valve cover gasket, replaced the crankcase breather hoses, replaced the MAF, replaced the brake booster hose (broke it while replacing the breather hoses) and replaced the coolant reservoir. I have found these cars to be relatively easy to work on (especially after trying to work on my mom's Chrysler this weekend)
The people on this thread are great and they will do everything they can to help you along the way. The 230s have a lot of DIYers on here that have posted step by step instructions on how to do a lot of the work so all you have to do is search a topic, buy the parts and get dirty. The satisfaction of getting your car "healthy" is just as good as making her "pretty."
Put the cosmetics on hold (I have as well) and get the stuff under the hood fixed first.
+1 on starting with the hoses, belts and filters. Der Flieger is right, it will get rid of most of the nuisance problems.
Also get some MAF cleaner and clean the MAF. Don't forget to check all the drain holes as well and make sure they are not clogged. That alone will save you some money from having flooding issues in your trunk and passenger cabin.
Good luck, we are here if you need us.