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David Bach is the author of Go Green, Live Rich and a guest contributor to Planet Green.[/i]

Arguments against buying organic groceries almost always focus on price.

Now that home foreclosures and job losses are piling up, and people are tightening their belts across country, it's easy to imagine hordes of shoppers running from organics to supposedly cheaper "regular" food. (You've gotta love a world where the food that's been sprayed with toxic chemicals is normal and the other stuff gets its own tiny section of the supermarket.)

So here's today's good news: Organic is sometimes the cheaper option. We went comparison shopping and found that while it's still true that organic fruits and vegetables generally cost more than their pesticide-sprayed counterparts, there are many examples where the organic version actually saves you money--particularly as more supermarkets launch their own low-priced organic lines, such as Safeway's O brand.

Take beans, for example, a staple of frugal cuisine. At a Safeway in Boulder, Colorado, a 15- ounce can of O organic black beans costs $1.05. On the same shelf, a 15-ounce can of Bush's Best black beans will run you $1.39. Down the street at Whole Foods, meanwhile--the store often referred to as Whole Paycheck?the supermarket-label 365 Organics brand black beans cost a measly 99 cents.

Or take pasta, that beloved staple of penny-pinching college students everywhere. A box of Barilla brand conventional pasta sells for $1.79 at the Safeway. But head over to the Whole Foods, and you can buy a bag of 365 Organic pasta for 50 cents less.

Of course, when you think about it, maybe it makes perfect sense that the "regular" stuff costs more. After all, someone's gotta pay for all those toxic chemicals. ? by Hillary Rosner