1) how to i transfer money into bit coins?
The same way you buy any other currency: you buy it from exchanges
. You can also recieve (extremely small quantities of) bitcoins for free from various sites
, which is a good way to test if your software is actually working before you put real money into it.
2) how do i transfer bit coins into real world goods (links to venders that accept them?)Link to list of vendors
For vendors that don't accept bitcoins directly, you may be able to find third parties selling gift cards for bitcoins
3) how do i access my "wallet" from a different pc/tablet?
The file wallet.dat (in %APPDATA%\Bitcoin) contains your bitcoins (technically, the cryptographic keys needed to spend them). Just transfer this file to the computer you want to spend your bitcoins from.
4) i format my pc about once a year, is there a way to transfer the wallet to a thumb drive or other such memory device?
Again, the wallet.dat file is all you need to back up (and you should be backing up this file regularly whether you're planning on formatting your PC or not), however you might want to back up everything in the %APPDATA%\Bitcoin folder, since this will save you from having to download the blockchain all over again when you reinstall Bitcoin.