Doesn't that yogurt look delicious? Sadly it is not my yogurt, but my yogurt is delicious. One of the ways I save money on groceries is by making my own yogurt. All it takes is store-bought plain yogurt that has live and active cultures (this is because you need a starter the first time and this is about the cheapest route, after that you can use your own yogurt) and milk. And a yogurt maker. But you don't even have to have a yogurt maker, you can use a slow cooker or even a mason jar and heating pad. I have a yogurt maker - that I stole from my mom - but basically you just need a constant source of low heat to incubate it.
I've already linked to a few different ways to do it, but I like that the yogurt maker makes it super simple. These things can often be picked up at yard sales and thrift stores (or your mother's garage) for next to nothing. I know that the instructions will be different depending on your method of incubation, but I think you could take these general instructions and apply them to your method.
1/2 cup yogurt with live active cultures (use store-bought to begin with but your own after that)
4 cups milk
Heat milk on stove top (or in microwave - yuck!) until it almost reaches boiling.
Stir in yogurt, then let cool until luke-warm (this is easily done in a sink full of ice water).
Pour into yogurt canister and let incubate for 6-24 hours. (the longer it goes the thicker it will be but it also allows me to procrastinate)
Put canister in fridge to cool and continue setting up.
Add in your favorite toppings, mix into a smoothie, or enjoy plain.
Ideas for toppings: vanilla, fresh fruit, granola, all fruit preserves
Many recipes use much more milk than yogurt to start with, but I find that this ration produces a thicker yogurt. You can always experiment with less. Also, on suggestion from my lovely sister, Greek yogurt works great as the starter as it is thicker to start with.
Cost breakdown for yogurt using prices from this week:
4 cups organic milk - $1.75
1/2 cup Greek yogurt - $1.00 (would have been less if I had remembered my coupon!)
Total cost for quart of organic yogurt - $2.75
Cost of store-bought organic yogurt - $3.75
Total Savings - $1.00
A dollar may not seem like much of a savings, but I would need to buy two quarts a week (fat free for the hubby and me and whole for the Kid), so that is $8/month, $96/year. That still may not seem like a whole lot, but keep in mind that the cost goes down when you use your own yogurt as a starter (if you remember to save and freeze a 1/2 cup!). Also, organic milk can be found on clearance sometimes, lowering the costs even more. Plus there is much less waste. So that makes it green and thrifty ;)
Now get in the kitchen and make some yogurt!