This guy does some really good calculations on energy storage options for a home-scale system:
The conclusion is that in general, batteries are probably the cheapest, most convenient, least dangerous and simplest energy storage option.
By far the best place you can spend money and effort is in reducing your energy storage requirements. The two things to think about are reducing your overall electricity usage and shifting usage patterns to take advantage of variable electricity generation availability (i.e. directly using the generated electricity instead of storing it for use later).
You can reduce electricity usage with things like buying efficient appliances, doing things manually, drying clothes on a line, having a solar hot water system, heating with wood, etc.
You can use generated electricity directly without using storage to do things like pump irrigation water from a well or creek up to a high tank/dam using solar power when the sun is shining (or wind power when the wind is blowing), and using that water supply to gravity-feed your household and/or garden so you don't need to run electric pumps on-demand. You could also run your washing machine and other appliances when solar/wind power is available, instead of running them from stored energy.