My camera records as .mxf files and my copy of Adobe Premiere Elements 12 tells me that it does not support this file type. Is there any way I could edit these clips? I've done some google searching I would personally rather not have to download a converter because I really don't trust many programs and I don't have the money to pay for one.
Premiere Elements (any version) does not support files with the file extension .mxf.
You will need to convert them to a format which your version of Premiere Elements supports.
Add On...Going to the latest version 13 is not going to help. Please check out Premiere Elements 13 Help PDF
page 39 (actual page) for Import Supported Formats.