As Phoebe pointed out earlier, the "financial advice for recent grads" is an editorial genre fraught with peril. It's usually about 90 percent totally obvious advice (newsflash: cooking at home is cheaper than restaurants), 5 percent useful for people who've never considered the concept of money (don't take out loans to buy depreciating assets like a new laptop even though you may think a laptop is really useful), and 5 percent wrong, like this advice to avoid credit cards lest they tempt you into financial sins.
The view that credit cards are evil conduits to oblivious profligacy is not that uncommon. Recently, I've tried to convince two different friends who were trying to save money that credit cards would help them do that, and both were very suspicious. But it's true--if you follow the one iron law of credit cards, you can in fact save money, have an easier time taking out loans on appreciating assets later, and get all kinds of nice perks like cash back and restaurant coupons* for your virtue. That rule, as I'm sure you all know, is to pay off your full balance every month, always, no matter what.
When you buy your peace-of-mind-saving latte for $3.29 at the beginning of the month and don't have to pay for it until the end of the grace period 30-60 days later, that $3.29 has accrued an additional couple cents for you in an interest-bearing savings account, and by the time you have to withdraw it to pay, it is itself worth slightly less than the original amount you paid for the latte thanks to inflation. A credit card is a convenient, brief interest-free loan that rewards you for responsible repayment with an occasional dinner at Olive Garden. Hurray!
Obviously, a credit card can be your undoing if you're already a profligate spender and just need a ready means of payment to behave like a maniac, or if you break the iron rule and start carrying even modest balances. But I suspect that for the dispositionally tight-fisted with a mortal fear of debt, that's not really a problem. I try to put everything on my card unless I'm somewhere that's cash-only. But I've never been tempted to purchase a pony or a Marc Jacobs dress with it.
Sometimes I do think that credit cards are an evil force, since their business model requires some people to break the iron rule of immediate repayment and go into debt, which may, in sum, make us a more profligate culture, though a much more transactionally fluid one. Am I contributing to financial irresponsibility and a massive culture of debt in order to feast on unlimited salad and breadsticks? No doubt some of Mastercard's debtors would be in some kind of debt anyway, but probably not all. Or does the benefit of immense financial convenience outweigh these costs? In the meantime, yes.
*One thing though about the rewards: beware the free airfare offers. They often require you to book through their travel agents and charge "booking fees" to redeem them. I prefer 1-2% cash back schemes, since even free Olive Garden breadsticks, nice though they may be, are not as good as cash moneys. Also, CapitalOne allows you to customize the image on the card, so that you can become that ridiculous person who has a photo of her cat on her credit card.