Warren Buffett didn't start out investing with $108 billion. Like every other successful investor, he began his career with a much smaller amount than he has now. 

You don't have to have a lot of money to begin investing. A few hundred dollars should allow you to buy several solid stocks. And investing in the stocks of companies that pay dividends will allow you to receive steady returns on your investment.

But which stocks are good candidates for investors on a relatively tight budget? Here are my picks for the smartest dividend stocks to buy with $400 right now.

Four $100 bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

AbbVie

Let's start the list with a respected Dividend AristocratAbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) has increased its dividend for 49 consecutive years. Since separating from Abbott in 2013, the big drugmaker has boosted its dividend payout by an impressive 225%. Its dividend yield currently stands at nearly 4.6%. And you can buy one share of AbbVie right now for less than $115.

For a long time, the main reason to consider buying AbbVie (other than its dividend) was the growth generated by Humira. The autoimmune disease drug is the company's top-selling product. It even ranked as the best-selling drug in the world for several years.

However, Humira's sales will soon decline as biosimilars hit the U.S. market beginning in 2023. Don't worry: AbbVie's dividend will remain safe. The company's growth won't be disrupted for very long, either. AbbVie expects overall revenue will dip in 2023 but return to growth the following year with strong growth throughout the rest of the decade. 

Innovative Industrial Properties

Few dividend stocks are going to give you the kind of growth that Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR) can. The real estate investment trust (REIT) focuses on the medical cannabis industry. IIP's revenue and net income more than doubled year over year in the first quarter of 2021.

One share of IIP will currently cost you close to $180. That investment should pay off nicely over the next several years, though. All IIP needs to do to continue growing is to buy more properties and lease them back to medical cannabis operators. At the company's current pace of these sale-buyback transactions, it will come close to doubling its number of properties within the next five years. 

You'll also get a strong and steadily increasing dividend with IIP as well. Its dividend yield of around 2.9% is actually deceptively low. The REIT has boosted its dividend by a whopping 780% since 2017. However, IIP's share price has skyrocketed even more -- nearly 850% -- during the same period, keeping its dividend yield from rising. 

Brookfield Renewable

One of the trends that you can bank on for the future is the increasing use of renewable energy. Countries and companies around the world are seeking to reduce carbon emissions, boosting the demand for renewable energy in the process. It definitely helps that renewable energy sources like wind and solar are more cost-effective than ever.

I think that using most of the remaining money from your initial $400 to buy a couple of shares of Brookfield Renewable (NYSE:BEP) (NYSE:BEPC) would be a smart move. The company is a leader in the renewable energy industry with 21,000 megawatts of installed capacity, including hydroelectric, wind, and solar facilities. It also has a development pipeline of around 27,000 megawatts.

Note that there are two ways to invest in Brookfield Renewable. The limited partnership (LP) Brookfield Renewable Partners trades under the BEP ticker, while the more tax-friendly Brookfield Renewable Corporation trades under the BEPC ticker. It's the same underlying business with either stock. Both shares currently trade at around $40. Both also pay solid dividends with yields of a little under 3%. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.