NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The first few years out of college can be exciting -- first job, first paycheck, first apartment -- but if you don't stick to a tight budget, student loan payments could be the least of your financial woes. Your first salary likely won't go very far, and rather than living lavishly, recent graduates should watch their wallets almost as closely as they did during school. Experts weigh in with five reasons why grads should continue living on a college budget as long as they can:
1. There's no such thing as 100% job security.
"No one has absolute job security," explains Gail Cunningham, director of media relations for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. "Just because you might have been fortunate enough to land a job, you still have to prove yourself."
Even if you think you have the greatest job in the world, it's best not to take on any major financial commitments or overspend on vacations or clothing until you're firmly entrenched in your new position, Cunningham says.
If your job offers a 401(k) or other retirement plan, take full advantage, even if you're just starting out and feel like you need every penny to pay rent.
"Retirement seems a very long way off, but time is money's best friend. You're probably used to living on a fraction of what your new paycheck is, so keep doing it. This will allow you to contribute the maximum allowed amount to your retirement plan at work."