Everyone loves a bargain. Be it 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 community over at Motley Fool CAPS, 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 four- or five-star stocks (five being the highest rating) with enterprise value-to-EBITDA (EV/EBITDA) ratios below 5. Regular Fool followers know that I usually look for stocks with EV/EBITDA ratios under 10, but with all of the blood running in the streets of late, there's no shortage of ultra-cheap stocks for us to pounce on. 

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

Let's dive right in this week's bargain bin:  

Company

EV/EBITDA (Trailing 12 Months)

Industry

CAPS Rating (Out of 5)

Lufkin Industries (NASDAQ:LUFK)

4.6

Oil and Gas Equipment Services

*****

Sasol (NYSE:SSL)

4.5

Oil and Gas Refining and Marketing

*****

Columbia Sportswear (COLM)

4.5

Apparel Clothing

*****

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO)

2.9

Apparel Retail

****

Apache (NYSE:APA)

2.7

Independent Oil & Gas

*****

Fluor (NYSE:FLR)

5.0

Construction and Engineering

*****

Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC)

4.8

Aerospace and Defense

****

Data provided by Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.

As usual, our list isn't exactly brimming with the most exhilarating businesses. But that should be just fine with us. As sharp Fools know well, boring stories often translate into the market's biggest returns.

Finding the floor on Fluor
Warren Buffett recently said that in five or 10 years, "We'll look back on this period and we'll see that you could have made some extraordinary buys." Now, I'm not certain that Texas-based Fluor currently passes as an extraordinary opportunity, but the stock's plunging price in recent months certainly warrants a special look. Over the past three months alone, Fluor has given up more than half of its value. But as a stock that has consistently maintained a top rating in CAPS, the sell-off seems largely overblown to our community.

Fluor is one of the world's largest engineering, procurement, construction, and maintenance (EPCM) companies. It should come as no surprise, then, that the stock's precipitous drop has largely been caused by falling oil prices and worries over a global slowdown, in addition to general market anxiety. Yet even with those real concerns, Fluor has continued to post outstanding results. In the second quarter, Fluor more than doubled its net income, while its project backlog grew a healthy 28% to a record $33 billion, an indication that business is (and will be) a lot stronger than the market thinks. Regardless, investors have kept heading for the exits.

"[Fluor] announces great earnings yesterday, guided up aggressively, wonderful backlog ... yep, those are great reasons to take the stock down 10%," quipped CAPS member InvestorDeb, in response to Fluor's earnings announcement, and subsequent punishment by Mr. Market, in August. "I understand that McDermott's quarter was disgraceful, but here is where the Fools who do their homework can pick up Foster Wheeler (NYSE:FWLT) and FLR as the babies being tossed with McDermott bath water."

With analysts expecting 18% growth over the next five years, Fluor currently trades at a paltry PEG ratio of 0.6. So whichever metric you slice it with, Fluor just feels like a bargain. To be sure, things can always get cheaper in this fear-stricken market, but with our community so high on the company's robust backlog, diverse revenue stream, and long-term demand for downstream oil and gas projects, we might very well be close to a floor on Fluor.

"Energy cutbacks announced (500,000 less barrels daily) by OPEC simply highlights the necessity for self sufficiency in oil, gas and nuclear development," said CAPS member hinrgbars in September. "Fluor is the largest developer of the above, and will only derive more and more business in this goal during the next 2-4 years."

A Fool's final word
As always, what we say here isn't meant to be taken as a formal recommendation; we want only 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, get in the game.

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

In the coming weeks, Fool co-founder David Gardner and his Motley Fool Pro team will invest $1 million in a portfolio designed to help you make money in any market. The service, which just launched, will rely heavily on proprietary CAPS “community intelligence” data to establish long and short positions in a broad range of securities, including common stocks, publicly traded put and call options, and exchange-traded funds. To learn more about Motley Fool Pro and to receive a private invitation to join, simply enter your email address in the box below.

Sasol is a Motley Fool Global Gains and Income Investor recommendation. Columbia Sportswear is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick, and American Eagle is a choice of Stock Advisor. The Fool owns shares of American Eagle. Try any of our Foolish newsletters services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara has been tracking the stocks used in this column with TheFrugals, which are ranked 17,412 out of more than 110,000 portfolios. He owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy always pays the full price for transparency.