Everyone loves a bargain. Be it at the grocery store, the local flea market, or 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 (out of a possible five) with enterprise value-to-EBITDA (EV/EBITDA) ratios below 5. Of course, regular Fool followers know that I usually look for stocks with EV/EBITDA ratios of less than 10, but in these recessionary times, there's no shortage of ultra-cheap stocks for us to pounce on. 

Dive into 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:  


EV/EBITDA (Trailing 12 Months)


CAPS Rating

Philippine Long Distance Telephone (NYSE:PHI)




Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW)


Diversified Chemicals


Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI)


Oil and Gas Equipment and Services


Allegheny Technologies (NYSE:ATI)




Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)






 Oil and Gas Exploration and Production


Cal-Maine Foods (NASDAQ:CALM)


Packaged Foods and Meats


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.

An egg-citing opportunity?
There was a time, not too long ago, when a "flat" stock was considered a disappointment. Today, an investment that simply won't go down too far (and that pays a consistent dividend) is what investors seem to be growing fond of. Cal-Maine Foods, for example, trades at the exact same price it did a year ago, but with a healthy yield and seemingly recession-resistant business, our community couldn't be happier with it.

Jackson, Miss.-based Cal-Maine is the largest domestic egg producer, with about a 16% share of the U.S. market. Last week, CAPS member panochey called Cal-Maine "the pre-eminent egg producer in the east, south and southwest," so it's no wonder that our community loves the stock as a play on growing egg consumption during turbulent times.

In the latest quarter, profits fell 32% on lower institutional demand and high feed costs, but sales at the retail level remained relatively healthy. Overall, revenue managed to rise 7% for the quarter.  

"It is simple, dull, ignored and profitable! They are growing even in this economy," CAPS member catoismymotor wrote last month. "That is best illustrated by the recent purchase of a four million hen facility in Tampa. No one is going to stop consuming no matter how bad things become."

At a forward P/E of 5.7, Cal-Maine seems to be priced for that worst-case scenario. But with commodity prices -- specifically corn and soybean meal -- still well off their all-time highs from 2008, better quarter-over-quarter results should be in the cards. Of course, Cal-Maine's variable dividend -- equal to a third of profits -- currently yields a juicy 5.6%. So Fools get the opportunity to "get paid while you wait."

No matter with which metric you slice it, Cal-Maine just feels like a scrambled stock, rather than a broken business. If our community is right, the company's long-term returns should stay on the sunny side.

"[T]hey provide a necessary product that people still buy in good times and bad," CAPS All-Star CorbinB2 said last year. "Should see a turn around here by mid first quarter 2010 or sooner."

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

Philippine Long Distance and Pfizer are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. Pfizer is also an Inside Value selection, and the Fool owns shares of it. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara has been tracking the stocks used in this column via TheFrugals, which are ranked 13,318 out of more than 125,000 portfolios. He owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy always pays the full price for transparency.