This is probably obvious and common knowledge to everybody but I just discovered this. You can make your own flavored yogurts by buying the largest cheapest container of plain yogurt and adding fruit preserve to it. It really cuts down on the cost (and sugar if you choose).
It is even better for the waistline if you use the "all-fruit" spreads instead of preserves. Smuckers is my preferred brand.
Actually, I've found that I DON'T save money this way. A 4-cup container of plain yogurt costs $1.98 and the indivdual 1-cup flavored yogurts costs $2. Not enough savings to bother with. It may be different in different parts of the country. I was surprised when I compared prices like that.
Another way to flavor yogurt is to use unsweetened drink mixes. Just a bit goes a long way.
You can buy a bottle of sugar free flavoring (irish cream, chocolate, english toffee, french vanilla, etc) at Smart and Final for about $4.00. It only takes a small amount to flavor my 2 quarts of homemade yogurt. It is supposed to be used for coffee, but why not other items?!
Not only have I recently discovered how EASY it is to actually MAKE yogurt, [see "Making Homemade Yogurt" http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf837542.tip.html], I have also discovered frugal ways to flavor it. Over ripe bananas that nobody wants to eat & plain yogurt in a blender make a great smoothie. You don't have to add sugar because over-ripe bananas are much sweeter. Leftover fruit salad that's no longer appetizing to look at can be mixed with plain yogurt and a little sweetener for the "fruit on the bottom" type, or blended for a smoothie. I have also used canned or leftover fruit pie filling. If unsweetened yogurt is too tangy for you, a couple drops of vanilla extract helps to make it a little less tangy.
Try the crystal lite flavor powder packets they sell for bottled water! They work great without adding extra calories.
FABULOUS IDEA! I accidentally picked up a huge carton of plain yogurt thinking it was vanilla - now I know what to do with it! Thank you!
You can also mix vanilla yogurt with plain yogurt 1/2 and 1/2 or to taste.
Coolchinilla - you are saving money. If a 4 cup container costs almost $2 for plain, and a 1-cup container costs $2 each, you're saving yourself $6 by buying a 4 cup of plain.
Unless I'm reading this wrong, you have $6 to spend on flavorings which shouldn't cost anywhere near that to flavor 4 cups. An initial purchase might cost you that much depending on what you're using, but it could be used for more than 4 cups of yogurt, if you know what I mean.
Also, remember that you can buy inexpensive maraschino cherries, frozen orange juice concentrate, canned tart cherries, canned blueberries, etc.
Buy your yogurt in 24oz. containers, whether it is plain or vanilla and add your fruit or flavorings.
If you love the Orange Julius, just add 1 Tbsp. of Orange Juice Concentrate and 2-3 slices of Banana (depending on taste) to 1 Cup of Yogurt - YUM!
This is VERY inexpensive. I will post another recipe for frozen yogurt after I try this recipe.