The stock market has fallen sharply, and many promising stocks are on sale at bargain prices. Yet the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has created a potential financial disaster for millions of people. As hard as it is to save and invest in the best of times, it's even harder now -- and many people feel like they can't save enough even to afford a single share of the companies they like.

Fortunately, you don't need to let high share prices and a lack of available cash stop you from investing the way you want to. That's right: you can put big longtime winners like (AMZN -0.21%), Alphabet (GOOG 0.60%) (GOOGL 0.53%), and even Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A 0.30%) (BRK.B 0.33%) into your portfolio -- with just one secret.

Why these three stocks make sense right now

In times of financial stress, you want to make sure that the companies whose stock you buy have the staying power to make it through any crisis. Although some smaller stocks might give you more dramatic gains after a recovery, they're not in as strong a position to survive the possible financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

Person looking at four-screen computer setup in front of a skyline.

Image source: Getty Images.

In particular, these three stocks have a lot going for them:

  • Amazon is the queen of the e-commerce revolution, with its online marketplace being a worldwide leader in getting products to households across the globe. Home delivery works even for those who are staying indoors due to coronavirus concerns, while features like its Amazon Prime Video are likely to draw more new members during an enforced period of social distancing.
  • Alphabet is the parent company of search engine giant Google, which is the go-to resource for those who are looking for information on the internet and also includes video hosting specialist YouTube as a subsidiary. You'll also find some up-and-coming businesses under the Alphabet umbrella, such as healthcare upstart Verily and the GV early stage venture capital firm.
  • Berkshire Hathaway puts the power of Warren Buffett behind your portfolio. With an unrivaled track record for opportunistic investing, Berkshire is exactly the company that can take the greatest advantage of current uncertainties.

All that sounds great, but if you only have $100 to invest, there might be a problem. A single Alphabet share costs about $1,100 right now, while Amazon carries a price tag closer to $1,850. Berkshire's Class A shares are the most expensive in the stock market at more than $250,000, and even its cheaper Class B stock is too pricey for $100 to purchase a single share. In the past, that would've been an insurmountable roadblock.

Enter fractional shares

Now, though, fractional share investing brings stocks like Berkshire, Amazon, and Alphabet to the masses. If you only have $100 to invest each month, then you don't have to save up for a year or longer just to buy a single share of your favorite high-priced stock. Instead, certain brokers let you buy a fraction of a share with your $100 -- and over time, you can gradually build up your holdings at a pace you're more comfortable with.

A rising number of brokers are making this service available. Among them are Fidelity, Robinhood, and Interactive Brokers (IBKR 0.84%), with others like Schwab (SCHW 0.30%) expected to follow suit in the near future.

Invest on a budget

Don't let financial stress or a lack of savings stop you from putting your money to work in the stock market. With fractional share trading, companies like Alphabet, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway are firmly within your reach -- and they can help you reach your financial goals even in the midst of current uncertainties.