If you want to invest in the stock market one share at a time, you could open a regular online brokerage account, fund it and buy stock in single-share quantities. But the $7 to $10 commission for a stock trade makes this a costly way to invest. As of May 2010, two online brokers, ShareBuilder and BuyAndHold, allow the regular investment of small amounts into individual stocks. You can set your investment level at about one share per purchase if you wish.
Open an account with ShareBuilder or BuyAndHold. Each company has a link for opening new accounts at the top of its website.
Select one of the automatic investment plan options after completing the account application. As of May 2010, ShareBuilder offers a single-stock plan for $4 a month or a six-stock plan for $12 a month. BuyAndHold allows you to purchase two stocks for $6.99 a month and offers unlimited investing for $14.99 a month.
Set up electronic funds transfer through the company's website to link your checking or savings account to the investment account. The opportunity to set up the banking link will be part of the account application process.
Pick the stocks you want to buy and set up an automatic investment with the frequency and amount. ShareBuilder sets up an automatic plan to purchase the shares of selected stocks each month. BuyAndHold uses a shopping cart approach in which you select the stocks and dollar amounts for your investment each month.