Well 'bout a week ago I got myself a yamaha acoustic guitar and my friend told me how to read tabs and all that but I don't know if that's where I should start. somebody told me not to limit myself to tabs because it might handicap me in the future but I don't know where else to start. should i start by learning chords? or just practice by playing tabs or what? I'm supposed to goto my first lesson on Thursday but I don't really want to take lessons because the money for it is coming out of my mom's pocket.

Currently, I'm trying to play "Adam's Song" by Blink 182 and can only get down the first three notes in the intro, lol.
I would suggest chords to begin with. You will probably get the most satisfaction from learning them first...cause it is easier to improvise/muck around with chords. Then progress to learning other techniques. Check out some of the lessons on this site.
Hey there starrkid,welcome to the guitar player community.First of all I'm a self taught guitarist ,played for almost 2yrs.When i first bought my guitar,I know nothing bout guitar or chords.

So the first thing i remember doing is messing around the fretboards to get used to the position.I would suggest you to a warmup skill like 1,2,3,4, on each string.By doing this it will give your fingers more strength and accuracy.And Remember when you first start do it slowly,then slowly increasing the speed.And try to use up and down strummin of each string instead of only downward.Also used a pick too when u start,not thumb.

After that you should be ready to move on to learning chords not tabs,trust me.Get a chord book or other reference which help u on the chords.When you first started,you might wana learn major and minor chords as they are the most important chords.Practice them daily for an hour at least.Another thing is make sure your fingers are position correctly when holding a chord. For example.,when you are holding a C chord,try to strum each of the strings to check whether the sound are clear or not.If not ,you may need to change the position u held it.Later when you master the chords,u can try out tabs.

But remember always do a warmup exercise everytime u play yr guitar,and rest if your wrist of fingers are starting to hurt.but welll this is just how i learn to play my guitar.If you find it not useful, there are good articles on the "lesson" section.

Peace and good luck with your playin
So Near....yet so far away....xHelv3ttex
thast STUPID advice for a beginner.
you have an acoustic. your not playing malmsteen yet so i doubt you need to "warm up"

learning the basic chords first is good.
that is the major and minor chords, theres 7 major, 7 minor

and maybe your should learn chords that dont require much hand movement first to get your strumming cool.

WONDERWALL's a good song to start with.

SLIDE - goo goo dolls, not bad
adams song is not bad either.
try nirvana, and chili peppers, for songs which is swhat most beginners on acoustic do.
and when you get more confident, try picking individual strings and notes instead of strumming

good luck, yamahas i think make the best acoustics coz their decent quality and fairly cheap
i started on one too!