In this climate rain barrels are best used Spring through Fall. For winter months, they should be drained and disconnected from downspouts.
The Allen Soil and Water Conservation District is currently selling the 45 gallon plastic rain barrel pictured above for $79. For details, link to their website at http://www.allenswcd.com/. You may be eligible for a $20 rebate! Rain barrels can also be purchased from a number of local retail outlets.