Make Your Own Specialty Yogurt to Save Money

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Making your own specialty yogurt at home can be a great way to enjoy a healthy treat as well as save money. Reader Jackie Brown shows us how.

photo source: Life as MOM

Rising food costs means higher priced yogurt. Ouch. Have you seen the cost of Greek yogurt, averaging $3-$5 in some areas for 2-cups? Many homemakers are experimenting with homemade yogurt in a commercial yogurt maker, cooler method or crock pot method.

Frugal Yogurt

I’ve experienced great results using the crock pot method with help from my three-year-old. When I find milk on clearance, usually $2.50 a gallon for conventional and $3.50 for organic in our area. I can make 8 frugal cups of yogurt for $1.25. I add a .49 box of vanilla pudding if I want to thicken and add vanilla flavor. I can go Greek by straining the whey longer.

Frugal YoBaby

Going a step further with a one-year-old in the household, I’m able to make homemade Yo-Baby yogurt by adding a homemade fruit and vegetable puree. For example, I add one tablespoon of homemade butternut puree along with a tablespoon of homemade applesauce just like store-bought flavors. Add a tablespoon or two of baby cereal if desired and you’ve got a YoBaby meal. If you’re buying commercial baby food, that works too, and your homemade version of YoBaby still comes out cheaper.

Consider these flavors of yogurt, inspired by YoBaby commercial products: simply plain, banana, vanilla, peach, blueberry. Or try these “meals” based on the popular, YoBaby Meals: pear & green beans, peach & squash, apple & sweet potato.

Frugal YoCrunch

I also have a tween who adores the taste of YoCrunch. Now that’s another cha-ching from my pocketbook, taking at least a dollar for one serving. With the convenience of homemade yogurt and homemade yogurt, my daughter can whip up a homemade version of YoCrunch for every meal. On a special occasion, chopped up pieces of candy bar or cookies can accompany the yogurt for a special school lunch treat. Grab the clearance candy right after the holidays and stash them in your cooking cabinet for this purpose.

YoCrunch ideas you can try out at home: Oreo, M & M, Reese Pieces, Nestle Crunch Pieces, Butterfinger, Granola

photo source: Mom on a Mission

Fruit Parfaits

Homemade fruit parfaits, such as strawberry, peach, and blueberry, are just as easy and frugal when you buy seasonal fruit. Purchase frozen fruit during off-peak season. Serve fruit fresh, frozen, sweetened or unsweetened. It’s all a matter of taste.

Frugal Drinkable Yogurt/Smoothie

Drinkable yogurt is another treat my kids adore. It’s typically available commercially in peach, banana, strawberry, and blueberry flavors. Even with double coupons, the tiny containers are not enough to appease my four hungry kids. Once again, blending the homemade yogurt with a fruit puree and additional milk to thin makes a frugal drinkable yogurt. Try blending all natural maple syrup or raw sugar to sweeten to taste. I add a small handful of fresh spinach to my smoothie recipes, which boosts nutrition.

I know of a mom who spends $10 per week on her daughter’s name-brand drinkable smoothies. That’s a whopping $40 per month for one person’s breakfast! Learning how to make homemade yogurt could be advantageous if you’re a mom footing that kind of bill.

Another benefit of making homemade yogurt products is knowing — and being able to pronounce everything that’s in it. You’re in control of the ingredients. Go organic and really save yourself money.

You can be as creative as you like with your frugal yogurt. If you’re not careful, you’ll be scouting for reduced milk to create a plethora of frugal yogurt products. Yesterday my husband came home with two gallons of reduced milk for only .99 cents. Score! My imaginative eyebrows are raising.

— Jackie Brown is a mom of four, blogging at Mom on a Mission, freezer cooking for her family while serving the homeless and the needy through her freezer education ministry.

Got a money saving idea?

Share it with us today on Frugal Friday. You don’t need to follow any certain theme to link up with Frugal Friday, but your idea or post MUST clearly demonstrate how to save money. Simply linking up a recipe does not illustrate this point. But, explaining how to make something expensive from scratch does. Please keep this in mind as you link up your posts.

Posts that are not obviously money saving tips will be deleted. Thanks for understanding.

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  1. Yummy! So funny, I just shared my yogurt recipe this week.

    My linkup today was sharing our exciting news: we are paying off our last student loans this month!

    It isn’t so much a “how to” post (though it took lots of frugality to get them paid off!). Is that allowed under the guidelines? If not I’d be happy to remove it!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing! I have seen alot of yogurt recipes lately, but this one is explained so clearly I cannot wait to give it a go. My kids can go through some yogurt! I also wanted to add what a wonderful service the contributor Mrs. Jackie Brown is providing. Cooking for the family as well as providing for others at the same time is wonderful and I am truly inspired.

  3. I love your US prices. In Canada I’m thrilled if I can get conventional milk for $4 a gallon, and I’ve see the organic milk selling for over $8.

    We make yoghurt too, and it usually works, but now I’m trying to figure out what to do with whey from the last yoghurt flop. I guess we’ll have smoothies for breakfast as you mentioned.

    I linked up a the Great Backyard Bird Count, a fun and free opportunity to learn about the birds in your area.

    1. We recently watched a comedy about bird watching, so the boys are really excited about the backyard bird count this weekend.

  4. Homemade yogurt seems to be hitting a tipping point. I am going to make it this weekend for the first time, so thanks for the push! A friend who makes yogurt told me not to use ultrapasteurized milk (as much of organic milk is) because it takes so much longer to set. Has anyone made yogurt with raw milk?

  5. Before my oldest daughter outgrew her dairy allergy I used to make soy yogurt for her although I was never entirely happy with the results. Both my girls love yogurt so I should really try making it myself again. I really appreciate these tips. Maybe I’ll be happier with the results this time.

  6. Can’t wait to try this homemade yogurt recipe…I am sharing a frugal recipe too…Ham & Cheese (no crust) Quiche…I usually have all of these ingredients on hand, which is so easy! 😀
    Thanks for the linky!

  7. I have a tiny crockpot so I’ve been doing the cooler method for the last couple of weeks. We’ve been adjusting our eating to accomodate changing needs, and that required yogurt to be included in breakfast and dinner (read: lots of yogurt!). I love the idea of adding vanilla pudding to the yogurt! Will have to try that sometime.

  8. This is timely for me. I’ve been looking into yogurt makers and eating more Greek yogurt–love Fage. We all love yogurt at our house, and I’d love to be able to make it more frugally. I didn’t know about the slow cooker method, so I’ll look into that. Thanks.

  9. Been hunting for non-ultra pasteurized milk…so now I know to look for regular instead of the organic I normally buy – right? LOVE yogurt in my house, and would be totally thrilled to find a way to make it myself!

    1. Here is a plus. If you pass up organic milk because of the expense, you can get a “next best” by buying milk from stores the ‘promise’ their milk comes from cows not treated with hormones. I am aware of Dillons/Kroger, Walmart & Braums as having this policy.

  10. Have been making my own yogurt for awhile now, but still miss my store-bought LEMON flavor! Can I just add grated lemon peel or something? would that work? or lemon juice? extract?

    1. After you make the yogurt, you can stir in whatever flavoring you want. I would probably try lemon zest or lemon curd. Lemon curd would mimic the “fruit on the bottom”.