You don't need a broker to purchase stocks, particularly if you don't want any professional advice on which stocks to purchase. Brokers cost extra money because just like you and me, they need to feed their family. This doesn't mean you should buy their dinner.
You have two options if you want to buy stock without a broker: The first is to use a discount brokerage service online. The second is to buy stocks directly from the company.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
If you want to invest in stocks without using a broker, you can look into direct purchase programs or use an online discount brokerage service.
Choosing an Online Brokerage
Find a discount brokerage company that suits your needs. Check the cost of purchasing individual stocks directly and account minimums. While some companies offer discounted trades, it's only if you maintain a high balance in your account.
Often there are hidden fees. When you compare companies, look for trading cost and then find the section that shows the fees. These two items eat away at your investment money.
Pay attention to how difficult it is to use the online broker’s software. Some companies offer great buys in trading stock but unless you're a technology genius, it’s too hard to trade. Most companies offer to try their trading software. Use their demonstration model before you open your account.
Using an Online Brokerage Account
Open the account and send your check or money order. Some companies offer automatic withdrawal from a checking account, but most require that you mail in a check to put money in the account.
Once the money is in your account, you're ready to trade. Select the stock you want to purchase and the number of shares you want to buy. You also need to decide on the price you wish to pay.
You can select market price or make a limit order. A limit order means you'll only pay a specified amount for a stock; if the stock never drops to that price, you won't be able to purchase it. Click on "Buy" after you decide all or nothing, fill or kill. These options just mean you don't want a partial purchase, or if you can't get the order, kill it.
Using Direct Purchase Plans
Look for companies that offer the right to purchase stocks directly from their transfer agent, the company that manages their stock. You'll often find the information on the company's website under investor relations and DRR or DRIP programs.
Once you find the company, simply look up their site and find their minimums. Sometimes there's a minimum investment with lower amounts if you add to the account. Some transfer agents, the people that actually sell the shares, charge a minimal fee. Some companies actually pay the fee to the transfer agent.
Open an account with the company's transfer agent. Once it's open, you can purchase at any time or have automatic monthly investments.