Everyone loves a bargain. Whether at the grocery store, the local flea market, or at the neighborhood car dealership, people inherently understand the benefits of getting a great deal.

Yet despite this infatuation with bargain opportunities, it doesn't occur to many investors that buying cheap stocks is possibly the best way to squeeze a whole lot of bang out of a hard-earned buck. As legendary investor Christopher H. Browne writes in The Little Book of Value Investing, we should always attempt to "buy stocks like steaks ... on sale."

Our penny-pinching process
So with the help of our Motley Fool CAPS community, I'll once again try to find some cheap stocks for all of my kindred stingy spirits.

The approach is far from complicated: We'll run a simple screen for five-star stocks (the highest rating a stock can get in CAPS) with enterprise value-to-EBITDA (EV/EBITDA) multiples less than 10. We'll use EV/EBITDA, instead of the more common price-to-earnings ratio, to account for differences in each company's capital structure.

Dive in the bargain bin
By running this screen, we'll zero in on statistically cheap stocks that, according to our CAPS community, have plenty of great reasons to trade at much higher levels.

Here's this week's bargain bin:




UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)


Health care plans

Tidewater (NYSE:TDW)



Altria (NYSE:MO)



Compania de Minas Buenaventura (NYSE:BVN)



Universal Stainless & Alloy Products (NASDAQ:USAP)


Steel and iron

EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG)


Oil and gas

BJ Services (NYSE:BJS)


Oil and gas services

Data provided by Yahoo! Finance and Motley Fool CAPS

As usual, our list isn't exactly brimming with exciting, or even well-recognized names. But that should be just fine with us. As sharp Fools know well, boring stories often translate into the market's biggest returns.

A stainless steal?
Generally, Foolish investors try to stray away from the herd mentality. But, when you've got a stock that everyone says to buy now, it might actually be worth it to investigate -- especially when "everyone" means a bunch of CAPS All-Stars. Universal Stainless and Alloy Products, a Pennsylvania-based producer of steel products, currently has 91 All-Star bulls in its corner, with zero bears. It's also worth noting that Universal's CAPS rating has steadily improved over the last few months, while its stock price, on the other hand, has slowly treaded downward. Do CAPS investors sense a turnaround coming? Let's take a closer look.  

I had never looked into Universal before, but so far, I like what I see. As fellow Fool Sham Gad writes, Universal had been one of noted value investor Mohnish Pabrai's most successful investments. Of course, today's prices are at nosebleed levels compared to Pabrai's cost basis, but his investment in Universal alone might be a good indicator of above-average quality. A quick look at Universal's financials supports that theory.

Not only does Universal have stellar financials, but also some of the very best numbers in the industry. By specializing in niche markets such as aerospace and power generation, having an unusually flexible labor agreement, and utilizing very little debt, Universal has consistently delivered returns on equity and capital around 20% -- pretty rare for a steel company. Additionally, Universal has grown revenues at a compounded rate of 26% over the last five years.

Taken all together, it's no wonder that our CAPS community has a universal taste for Universal. With the aerospace, power generation, and heavy equipment markets all forecasting strong future demand, Universal should be good bet to continue its impressive performance. Though the stock isn't even close to the bargain it was when Pabrai bought in, recent weakness might give Foolish investors at least a reasonable deal.

For more help with your analysis, here are three stock pitches from some steely-eyed CAPS players. KQforever uses some Universal common sense:

Market retraction may have stung initially, but the revenues are increasing as is the net income on a quarterly basis. Market will level back up again soon enough. ... I like steel. It's not going anywhere and the world is only going to need more of it in the future.

Meanwhile, TheStillMan has finally jumped in:

Have always like this stock and its potential, but thought that it was a bit pricey, so I'm taking advantage of the recent market weakness to buy. Wonderful efficient producer selling for half its (historical) growth rate. Almost nonexistent analyst coverage. An undiscovered gem.

Finally, CAPS All-Star bournex123 expounds a valuable value lesson:

Well I am amazed that USAP is now my biggest loser. ... This may be a great buying opportunity at this price -- but it shows that even careful homework does not prevent the mysteries of the market from stepping into play.

A Fool's final word
As always, what we say here isn't meant to be taken as a formal recommendation; we only want to generate some possible ideas that you might find worth further research. If you'd like to scour the bargain bin for yourself, read what our CAPS community thinks, or even chime in with your own opinions, click here to get in the game.

Oh, and it's totally free -- an offer that even the deepest of value investors should never pass up.

Unconvinced about the power of cheap picks? Fool contributor Brian Pacampara has been tracking the stocks used in this column. Currently, TheFrugals are ranked 98 out of more than 60,000 portfolios. Brian owns no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy always pays the full price for transparency.