With two exceptions, the top aides to President Carter and Vice President Mondale are earning larger salaries inside the government than they were before, according to financial disclosure statements released by the White House yesterday.

The two exceptions, both lawyers, are Robert Lipshutz, counsel to the President, and Jack H. Watson Jr., the Cabinet secretary and assistant to the President for intergovernment affairs.

Lipshutz and Watson are each paid $56,000 a year by the government. Last year, Lipshutz earned about $70,000 from his Atlanta law firm, and had other investment income, while Watson earned $82,281 from his Atlanta law firm.

But for the other young men and women now in the White House complex, the Carter-Mondale victory last November has meant an increase, in some cases of hefty proportions in annual income.

White House press secretary Jody Powell, 33, for example, was paid $18,000 from May 1, 1976, until Carter took office last Jan. 20. His salary is now $56,000 a year.

Hamilton Jordan, 32 the President's top political adviser, was paid $32,616 last year by the Carter election campaign and transition organizations. His salary also is $56,000 a year.

Last year Tim Kraft, 36, was a political field operative for the Carter campaign, earning just under $20,000. He is now the President's appointments secretary and is paid $51,000 a year.

Even for most of those aides who did not work in the campaign, White House employment has proved more lucrative than their earlier endeavors. Most are young, in their late 20s and 30s, in contrast with Carter's older Cabinet secretaries, several of whom accepted substantial salary cuts in joining the government.

At his press conference Thursday, the President defended the salaries of his staff, noting that while his aides recently received pay raises they were less than authorized by law.

"Their increase in salary, I think, was one that was justified and I don't have any apology to make for it" he said. "They work extraordinarily long hours . . . and I think the people of our country are getting a good return on their salary investment in my staff."

The disclosure statements showed that the Carter and Mondale staffs are far from wealthy - another contrast with the Cabinet, at least three of whom appear to be in or near the millionaire category.

Not surprisingly, the best-off financially of the President's aides appeared to be the oldest, Lipshutz. The 56-year-old lawyer listed among his assets extensive real estate holdings in Georgia.

None of the others listed large amounts of stock or other investment holdings. However, the disclosure forms used by the White House make it impossible to calculate exact net worth figures for any of the aides, because they use ranges of value ($15,000 to $50,000, for example) in listing assets and liabilities.

In another development yesterday, the President sent a memorandum ordering his Cabinet secretaries to review their departments' policies and practices in hiring outside consultants.

Carter said a recent survey found more than 30,000 contract arrangements involving more than 10,000 individual consultants with the government. Press secretary Powell said the estimated cost was $2 billion a year.

There is evidence, Carter said, that "some consulting services, including experts and advisers, are bing used excessively, unnecessarily and improperly."

The President ordered the elimination of consultant arrangements found to be "neither appropriate nor necessary" and told the Cabinet secretaries to report the results of their reviews to the Office of Management and Budget by June 3.

Earlier yesterday, Carter met at the White House with members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss ongoing reviews of foreign intelligence -gathering policies and practices.

Powell said the administration hopes studies by it and the Senate committee are completed by June so new intelligence legislation can be introduced in Congress by the fall.

He said the President and the senators agreed there is a need for new legislation containing "more explicit statements" on what the Central Intelligence Agency "can and cannot do" in gathering intelligence.