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 Motley Fool 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 Cintas (NASDAQ:CTAS). The corporate uniform giant is bumping up its annual dividend by a penny to $0.47 a share. It may not seem like much, but the company has come through with higher rates every year since going public in 1983.

Drugstore favorite CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) is also prescribing a higher dosage. The company's quarterly distributions are climbing 11% to $0.07625 a share. CVS is working on a more modest six-year streak of rising payouts, but it's a good place to be given the feast-or-famine nature of its industry. Rival Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) has been paying consistent dividends for 76 years, but Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) shares have been trading for less than a buck since early October.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) is another hiker. The agricultural chemicals specialist is harvesting a chunkier yield, propping up its quarterly disbursements by 10%, to $0.265 a share. Shareholders should be used to the heavier checks by now. Since being spun off as an independent company in 2002, Monsanto has jacked up its rate eight times to the tune of a 340% increase in that time.

Finally, we have Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO) ready to buck the trend of meandering retailers. The deep discounter's new quarterly payout of $0.135 a share is an 8% improvement. Family Dollar has now boosted its yield in each of the past 33 years.

It may not sound like much, but consider the companies going the other way last week, like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) dramatically slashing its quarterly dividend to a mere $0.01 a 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 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.

Cintas is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Bank of America is a former Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.  

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.