"Dad! Hide your shame!" --Lisa Simpson

I know this "growth investor," let's call him "Chuck," who has a terrible secret. He's someone who does very well with the market's hot tamales. He's very good in medical stuff, knows a lot about technology and computers, and is a very successful investor.

But Chuck shoulders a tough burden. That's because Chuck must live with a split personality. For all his winnings on the field of dreams, and all those folks who idolize him as a growth investor, Chuck is, at heart, a cheapskate. He is, in secret, a value guy.

How do I know? I hear him ridiculing Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) at 95 times earnings. I watched him dump his shares of Overstock.com the minute the naked-short charade took over the headlines and diverted attention from the company's deteriorating performance. I see him explaining to people that the reality of diminishing growth and multiple compression can turn a good company and a prior shooting star like Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) into a five-year flatliner, all because people paid too much up front.

Oh, I know Chuck's a value guy. The key question is, why is Chuck a value guy?

It's because Chuck knows the key to winning in the stock market, and it's this simple: "Pay less for something than it's worth."

And to figure out what something's worth, you need to be able to make reasonable assumptions. That's something you can't do with most of those "growth" stocks out there, but it's something Chuck does do with his corner of the field.

If Chuck's looking at a great new candidate to treat a specific condition, he figures out the prospective number of patients who would take it, calculates the revenues the drug might earn, and work his models up from there. Chuck assigns probabilities to drug approval and determines the fair price he'd pay for that possible future growth.

Chuck wants news he can use -- not growth stock promises and vapor, and not crash-and-burn, cheap-for-a-reason screamers. Chuck's a value guy.

That's why, when someone asks Chuck whether he might bite on some GM (NYSE:GM) at today's prices, the answer is a firm "Nope." GM's got way too many unknowns to make its current real price tag known to an investor. He'll stay away from GM for the same reason you wouldn't catch him buying something like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) at current prices. Sure, he just bought one of Apple's computers, but at today's rate, he'd need to rely on hope alone to justify the share price. And he won't do that because of his secret shame.

This is not much different from what I -- an admitted cheap value type -- do when I pick up shares of Nokia (NYSE:NOK) or grab shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which my colleague Philip Durell recommended for Motley Fool Inside Value.

We're all just weighing odds and buying the good ones on the cheap. Last I saw Chuck, this "growth" investor was sniffing around the bins with me, looking at some retailer or steel mill trading for less than tangible book value. I've no doubt he's looking at hot tamales, too, but I also know he won't be paying stupid money for them. Because deep down, Chuck's a value guy like me.

If you want learn how to find stocks on the cheap, our loud and proud value guru, Philip Durell, can show you how to find the long odds. A free 30-day trial of Inside Value is just a click away.

Seth Jayson vows to keep secret the true identity of his shameful value buddy. At the time of publication, he had shares of Microsoft but no positions in any other firm mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation. Overstock.com is a Rule Breakers pick. Fool rules arehere.