April is an expensive month in my household, thanks to birthdays, taxes, and family obligations that force our family to dine out more often than I would like. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money during April, and I can use these strategies to counterbalance my extra spending. If you're looking to slash your family's bills and trim the fat from your budget, you can employ these simple strategies too.

1. Open the windows.

Heating and cooling expenses can take a big bite out of the family budget. But during the month of April, you no longer need heat and don't yet need air conditioning. You can open up the windows, let in the breeze, and cut your costs significantly.

2. Walk more, drive less.

Mild spring weather also means that you can get out and walk at times when you might normally drive. Not only will you get more exercise, but you'll save on gas costs too.

3. Hit the garage sales.

April is the start of garage sale season, and if you know what you're shopping for, you can find plenty of hidden gems at these sales. Kid's clothing, household items, and even furniture can all be found at garage sales for more than half what you would pay retail. Hit the subdivision sales in affluent neighborhoods to find the highest quality items and the best deals.

4. Save or invest your tax refund wisely.

If you filed your taxes early and are lucky enough to be getting a refund during the month of April, you may be tempted to spend it all in one place. After all, who wouldn't want to put the money toward a family trip to the Bahamas? If you're looking for ways to improve your family's financial future, though, you're better off using the money to pay down credit card debt or build college savings. Find more savvy strategies for saving in Kiplinger's article on 10 Smart Uses for Your Tax Refund.

And speaking of taxes...

5. Take advantage of Tax Day freebies.

If you owe the government money, Tax Day probably isn't your favorite day of the year, but more than a few businesses are offering special discounts and savings to help ease your pain. On Tuesday, April 15, customers can get a free coffee and food among other things.

See a complete list of Tax Day freebies here.

6. Spring clean with common household products.

Cleaning products can be costly, and they're often unnecessary, because common household items like lemons, baking soda and vinegar can do the job just as well (if not better). This article on 12 Green Ways to Clean Your Home will help you save money, since you'll avoid buying cleaning products you don't really need.

7. Shop winter clearance sales.

Sure, the weather may have you feeling like you should be shopping for spring, but prices on spring and summer apparel are still on the high end. Shop the sale racks instead, where you'll find winter apparel (buy it now for next year) at the lowest prices of the season.

Are you getting a tax refund this year? How will you save or spend it?