One of the toughest lessons for budding value investors to learn is patience. While the growth crowd looks at a skyrocketing stock price as a good thing and figures any time is good to jump aboard, we value types spend our time cheering for our favorites to stutter to a stop or plunge earthward for a while. It can be an agonizing wait.

A case in point is Inside Value recommendation Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL). The stock was originally recommended in December at around $46 per share, and it ran up toward $55 shortly thereafter, leaving me, and others, behind. Though I love the company and its many bulletproof consumer brands, I, like lead analyst Philip Durell, valued the company at somewhere just shy of $60 per share, meaning that there was precious little margin of error built into that $55 price.

This is one of those cases where cheap (and Foolish) minds think alike; I actually beat Philip to the punch on Colgate late last fall. Though I did fine with a short-term position in call options, it was one of those times when I wished I'd been less clever and simply purchased the common stock, so that I could have stopped worrying about expiration dates and could have begun pocketing that nifty 2% dividend.

So, I missed my opportunity back then, but the market has a funny way of offering us second chances, and we may be getting one now. With Colgate's turnaround chugging along nicely, and despite more and more analysts coming out with glowing recommendations, the stock has eroded back toward $50 per share. That's not quite as cheap as I'd like it, but we know more about what Colgate's got in store these days, including well-publicized cost-cutting efforts that are coming along this year.

Colgate, like peers Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) and Unilever (NYSE:UL), is an excellent hedge against economic tumult, since people tend to keep purchasing little things like soap, toothpaste, and deodorant even if they decide they can no longer drop $3 a day at Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) or $120 on jeans at Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF). Like 3M (NYSE:MMM), Colgate is one of those steady behemoths with scores of popular products, a company that's almost certainly a value even at fair value. Currently trading at a decent discount to its historical P/E, EV/sales, and EV/EBITDA multiples, Colgate ought to be on the short list for any investor interested in steady, if slow, growth with limited risk.

For related Foolishness:

What kind of wounded elephants is Inside Value's Philip Durell stalking these days? Afree triallets you join the hunt.

Seth Jayson is hoping Colgate will get down to $48 a stub. At the time of publication, he had positions in no firm mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.