I haven't bought colored sugar crystals for decorating baked goods in a long time. I can't imagine spending around $1.50 for 4oz of sugar when it's so simple to color it yourself. You can color regular granulated sugar (which is what I do) or larger crystals if you prefer that look.
This is a ridiculously simple concept but it's a cost-saving effort that requires no special supplies and takes just a couple of minutes.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
You can use liquid food color, gel food color or paste food color. Liquid is the easiest to mix into the sugar and only slightly more is needed to get deeper colors. If all you happen to have is powdered food color, mix some powder with a few drops of alcohol such as vodka, and use as you would liquid food coloring.
Put the sugar in a bowl and add food color.
Mix together using a fork or your fingers. As the color saturates all of the crystals, you'll get a good idea of how deep the color is.
Add more color or sugar to adjust the depth of color.
Step 4: Drying
When all of the sugar is saturated with color, spread the colored sugar on a plate and let sit out to dry. This may take an hour or so. Once the sugar is dry it will have large clumps. Break these up and the sugar will be free-flowing.