Water, especially when you live in an arid climate, is a precious resource. Before we started looking at houses I envisioned a rain barrel sitting along the back of the house, catching our intermittent rainwater. For those of you that aren't familiar, this is a barrel that collects water from your downspout systems. Your entire roof serves as a catchment surface and you get free (and non chlorinated) water to use in a garden, on a lawn, or whatever else you need.
The problem- commercial rain barrels are expensive. We're talking $100-200. There are plenty of instructions on how to create your own rain barrel, but they require tools and time that we just don't have at the moment.
My small scale, free, approach is to use 5 gallon plastic white buckets to catch rain. I get these for free at my local grocery store's bakery. They wash out the icing buckets for me and then I give them another wash at home. When I know it's going to rain (if we're getting rain the newscasters practically dance on their desks) I put the buckets in the yard open. When it's finished raining I close them up and the use to fill my watering vessels.
While 5 gallons isn't as great as say 55, it's working for now and every little bit helps.