I love to kick off the new trading week by taking a quick peek at companies that have just raised their dividends. It's not just about the money -- a company that is easing up on its pocketbook probably has improving fundamentals to back up that generosity.

Readers of the Income Investor newsletter can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking. Let's take a closer look at four of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

We can start with Steelcase (NYSE:SCS). The office-furniture specialist's dividend got promoted! A 15% spurt finds Steelcase now paying its shareholders $0.15 a share every three months. When you couple that with rival Herman Miller's (NASDAQ:MLHR) healthy backlog of orders, you get a pretty encouraging snapshot of the office-furnishings sector.

New York Times (NYSE:NYT) also came through with all of the boost that's fit to pay. The newspaper giant may be having its growth hiccups, but the potential of a digital future and some shrewd cost-cutting moves have it easing up on its purse strings. The new quarterly dividend will be $0.23 per share, 31% higher than last year's rate. As you may have guessed, New York Times is an Income Investor newsletter pick.

Village Super Market (NASDAQ:VLGEA) is another hiker. The operator of 23 ShopRite grocery stores coupled a stock-split announcement with a 13% payout increase. Its quarterly distributions now stand at $0.36 a share (or $0.18 per share after the 2-for-1 split).

Then we have Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM). The home-decor retailer just started paying dividends a year ago, but it, too, has learned that a way to an income investor's heart is through perpetual hikes. The new $0.115-per-share rate is a 15% improvement over the original $0.10-per-share distribution.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The service singles out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

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

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