Drought is a serious concern in many areas of the country. Some people are very good at chipping away at their water consumption until they are only using what they absolutely need, but at some point you just can't use any less water. If you find that drought is a serious problem in your area, or if you're just sick of paying for a resource that many people think should be absolutely free, you may want to start collecting rainwater and storing it safely.
There are commercial options out there, but they are very expensive. Unless you plan on making rainwater your primary source of H2O, you may not have $800 to $2500 to drop on a rainwater collection and purification system. Of course, you do have to keep in mind that the money you spend on a pump system now will be paid back thanks to never having to pay a water bill to the city or county again, so it is a good long-term investment, especially in a time when many people are concerned about the future of our planet's running water.
You can always build your own system, which is a much cheaper (but labor-intensive) process. To do you, you need a paint strainer; a 5-gallon bucket; a 55-gallon drum (with a lid); downspout fittings; cinder blocks; a spigot with a turn ball valve; a permanent black marker; a jigsaw; a powerdrill with a 7/8" spade bit; a half-round bastard file; a utility knife; and 1/4" galvanized wood screws.
More detailed instructions can be found in the WikiHow article below, but here is the basic gist of the creation process: create the tank by making the bottom of the 5-gallon bucket into a lid, then put a spout into the 55-gallon drum. Put the drum on the cinder blocks and add a gutter extension that goes directly into the drum, with the paint strainer in the way to prevent debris from filling your water. A gutter strain can also be placed in the gutter to prevent large debris from getting in.
Now, with the water you've collected, you can do a lot of things! It won't be purified, so you can't just go drink out of the barrel, especially if you haven't been testing the pH level of the water. You can, however, use it to water your garden or clean your car, or do any number of things for which purified water is not important. You can also boil it for safety, if the pH level is not dangerous.
For more tips on how to live frugally, continue to check this blog. And visit GarageSaleCow.com for some great resources for garage salers!