No money, that much is certain.
Back in 1998 we looked at buying a car. The choice was between an Accord and an Altima. No Camry's here
Basically it boiled down to me being a cheap bastard. We could get a comparable Altima for about $4000 less than the same year and similarly equipped Accord. (Due note: Cars are hideously expensive in Canada) The Altima has done very well, up until last week not needing any repairs at all. It currently has about 115,000 miles on it. The repair was for a new catalytic converter, which cost way more than it should ($1100). The dealer blames the gas companies up here for putting something in the fuel that screws with the converter. Not sure, but I couldn't find any dealer service bulletins on the subject, so it's not a common defect.
All that said, an Altima is a nice car, but if I were to buy one right now it would be 2003 or better. 2002 was the model change to the new body style which is much nicer, but the early versions had cheap plasticy interiors. Blech. Subtley changed in 2003.
Oh right, you said Accord. Ahem.
I've owned four Honda's, up until the Altima, the only company I've ever owned a car from: 1980 Civic; 1985 Prelude; 1987 CRX; 1989 Accord. All bulletproof, but the brakes suck. If the muffler goes, get an original parts version, more expensive but lasts five times as long as a Midas version. The Accord had the most miles: replaced the muffler, breaks, starter, alternator and battery. When it was written off (not my fault, really) it had 219000 miles on it, so the repairs were reasonable.
Would I buy an Accord now? Sure, if the bastards at Honda would deal. Two hours of bickering with a sales lackey and I saved $2500, well worth my time. Honda up here won't budge on a price. BUT...Honda holds it residual value better than Nissan does. In fact, after 6 years, I would actually be $1000 further ahead due to lower depreciation of the Honda. I'd be torn between a current Altima and an Accord.
Both seem pretty bulletproof. The Nissan was an experiment for me, Honda reliability is a given. I think the Nissan engine has a bit more balls (useful perhaps for chronic masturbators) but I think the Honda has better fuel economy in city driving (something I do very little of, so I appreciate the awesome passing gear in the Altima).
I plan on keeping my car for quite some time. I've already killed the residual value due to high mileage and my driving distance isn't about to decrease any time soon. It's proven it is pretty reliable, something I count on Honda for as well.
If you can afford the Accord, I would pick it over the Altima because of the residual sales value. If you're short a few bucks, I'd buy an Altima, though take a serious look at the 2002, you might bump up to a 2003 and that might be out of the price range. Sure won't be a comparison between a 2003 Altima and a 1998 Accord in terms of price. And I'm not knocking the 1998-2001 Altimas, just the styling is lacking relative to the Accord of the same time frame and newer Altimas.
We may well be trading in the Pathfinder that my wife has soon. The choice will be the same as outlined above, Altima versus Accord. Good luck.