The difference between "Para" and "A" for Spanish

just would like some clarity for when each word would be appropriate
am I correct in saying that this is like the “To” and “Too” in English?
Muchas gracias

They basically mean “for” and “to.”

“To” and “too” sound the same, but they don’t have similar meanings, or the same part of speech. So it’s not so easy to think of sentences where they can be swapped without creating a grammatical error.

“Para” and “a” are prepositions, the same kind of words as “in”, “on”, “at”, …
Prepositions are famous/infamous for being hard to translate, you mostly have to learn there different uses. That’s where lingqing phrases excels. For a comparison, think about English “in”/“on”/“at”. How can you explain their “meaning”. You’re at school but in a park and on a farm, …
However, as a first approximation, let me explain what I, as a native speaker, think of the difference between “a” and “para”
First, I don’t see them as particularly similar in meaning or confusing, “para” is more similar to English “for”, “a” to English “to”. In most uses they’re very different. “Por” and “para” seem to me more similar and potentially more confusing for foreign learners.
He comprado un anillo para ti
I bought a ring for you

There’s just one particular use in which “a” and “para” are used similarly: to indicate a destination. The most usual and “fool-proof” preposition to use in that context is “a”, but sometimes “para” is used in those cases.
Voy a casa
Voy para casa
Here “para” means something like “I’m heading home”, I’m moving in the direction of my home". “Para” is just a fancier synonym of “to” in this context. Think of both expressions as having virtually the same meaning.
Notice that English does something similar: “to” is the usual way to express a destination but you sometimes use “for” instead in this meaning, when you “head for…” or “set out for…” some place.

Another possible source of confusion may come from the fact that English often uses the infinitive (with the “to” word) to express a goal:
I borrowed some money to buy a car.
This is a different “to”, here you mean that you borrowed money in order to, so as to buy a car. Spanish demands that you use a preposition to express a goal. The correct preposition is “para”
Pedí dinero para comprarme un coche
Para + infinitive = in order to

whoah thanks for the very detailed reply!
this has most definitely cleared my understanding up!