Grow your dividend, and your shareholders grow with you. At least that's one way to approach a stock that is ratcheting up its distributions. Not only do you have a company rewarding its investors with a little more pocket change, but you also have a stock with improving fundamentals.

Let's take a closer look at four of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

We'll start with Wrigley (NYSE:WWY). The gum maker is giving its investors a little more to chew on now that it's quarterly dividend is going from $0.28 to $0.32 a share. Shareholders who were used to the perk of receiving 20 free packs of gum over the holidays can now go out and buy their own!

The announcement came at a peculiar time -- on the same day that Wrigley had announced its second consecutive disappointing quarter. Even the company admitted that the hike was going to result in a higher payout ratio. That's not a good thing, because it means the company will be paying more out of its earnings base to cover the dividend distributions, which translates into earnings in 2006 growing slower than the 14% dividend uptick.

Black & Decker (NYSE:BDK) also flew its payout higher. Investors will now be getting $0.38 a share every quarter, a steep 36% improvement. This news came as the company posted flat sales in the fourth quarter, but did so on healthier operating margins. The company has been pretty aggressive on the income-producing front: Last year, it treated shareholders to a 33% dividend spike.

Inco (NYSE:N), the world's second-largest nickel producer, boosted its dividend by 25% to $0.125 a share. Yes, it would have been cool to say that a nickel producer was growing its payout by a nickel per share, but one-fourth of a nickel will do in this case.

Finally, we have UPS (NYSE:UPS). Investors will now be receiving $0.38 a share every three months, the same sum that Black & Decker shareholders will now be enjoying. The parcel delivery giant's quarterly dividend was previously just $0.33 a share. So what can Brown do for you? If you're looking at UPS for its distributions, it can probably do plenty. This is the fourth time the company has boosted its payout over the past three years.

Subscribers to our Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. Analyst Mathew Emmert has often singled out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

Want to see what Mathew's liking these days? Go ahead and give his newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that will get hiked will be your interest.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.