I love to kick off the new trading week by taking a quick peek at companies that have just hiked 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'll start with Washington Federal (NASDAQ:WFSL). The Seattle-based banker raised its quarterly dividend per share to $0.21 from $0.205. It may not seem like much of a hike, but the company has increased its payout 42 times since going public 25 years ago.

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), better yield? Why not? The consumer electronics giant gave its yield a 30% boost by upping its quarterly distribution to $0.13 a share. The move is part of a massive share buyback plan.

Luminent Mortgage (NYSE:LUM), a mortgage REIT, is another hiker. Luminent's quarterly disbursement is climbing 7% higher to $0.32 per share. The distributions are a whopping 60% higher than they were at this point last year. Luminent is yielding 12.2% at the moment, which is unusually high, even for a mortgage REIT, so tread carefully.

Finally, we have General Mills (NYSE:GIS). Stockholders will be receiving $0.39 every three months for every share they own, an 8% improvement over last year's quarterly distributions. On top of that, General Mills has paid uninterrupted dividends for 108 years.

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

Want to see what is 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 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 in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. Best Buy is a Stock Advisor pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy.