Take it to a shop. Seriously. I've spent so much time and effort on wild goose chases that I've lost a good month of prime driving season. A reputable AC shop can probably diagnose the problem in less time and for less money than you could, if you don't have the experience or expertise. I doubt it'll cost you as much as you anticipate, although a few hundred might be reasonable in your neck of the woods.
You COULD try to replicate my method, which was assume everything needs to be junkd and get a new compressor, a new parallel flow condenser, a new receiver/drier, and o-rings, borrow or buy a set of manifold gauges and a vacuum pump, then hope it doesn't leak. Study as many AC tutorials and videos as you can find to learn how to charge the system. Cross fingers. The thing is, if you don't have the experience you end up chasing leaks, redoing your work countless times, and eventually becoming so frustrated you throw in the towel. In the end, it might be that ONE part you had not planned to replace, of if you'd known it was faulty you would have never started the job in the first place (like, for example, a bad evaporator).
I hate to sound like a Negative Nelly, but unless you plan on becoming something of an AC expert, there's probably other work that would be more worth the investment of your time, effort, and money. I wish now I'd thrown down on my spare transaxle and gotten it ready for a swap into the car! At least that wouldn't have necessitated garaging the car for weeks.
So yeah, in summary, If I could do this over again I'd let an expert take a look at it, present me with a diagnosis and a recommended plan of action, and then decide how to proceed.
as good as a car can be... briefly.