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 loosening its purse strings probably has improving fundamentals to back up its 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 over the past week.

Let's start with Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX). The payroll specialist will have some fatter checks to send out, now that it's propping up its distributions by a whopping 43%. Investors will now receive $0.30 per share every three months. The move coincides with a massive $1 billion buyback announcement.

Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) is also prescribing chunkier yields. The drugstore chain's quarterly dividend is climbing 23% to $0.095 per share. Investors have come to expect that kind of consistency from Walgreen, which has boosted its payouts for 32 consecutive years.

A.O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) is another hiker. The manufacturer of motors and electric water heaters is bumping its quarterly disbursements 6% higher, to $0.18 per share. This is also becoming a common occurrence, with A.O. Smith increasing its dividend rate five times over the past six years.

Let's wrap things up with Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST). The "we get it right" industrial-supply provider has been worthy of its ticker symbol, hitting fresh highs these days. Shares aren't the only thing rising at Fastenal. The company's semiannual dividend is growing by 10% to $0.23 per share.

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 we're recommending these days? Give the newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial. Who knows? Maybe the next thing to 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. The Fool has a disclosure policy.