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's 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 by hitting the express-checkout lane at Safeway (NYSE:SWY). The supermarket chain announced a 20% hike in its dividends during its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday. Investors will now get $0.069 a share every three months.

High-end jeweler Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) also presented its shareholders with a 20% payout lift. Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but those $0.12-a-share quarterly dividend checks will add up over time, shining like many of Tiffany's finest wares.

Next, we'll turn to TierOne (NASDAQ:TONE), for a boost that you won't be able to enjoy too much longer. The bank declared a 14% increase to its quarterly dividend, only to announce two days later that it was being acquired by CapitalSource (NYSE:CSE). It's a pity, since TierOne was giving income investors just what they like to see. This was the third year in a row in which the bank chain jacked up its quarterly distributions rate. Unfortunately, it will probably be the last.

The last hiker that we'll be looking at is Federated Department Stores (NYSE:FD). The retailer provided a modest 2% boost to its quarterly disbursements. This comes just as the company is ready to change its name to Macy's and begin trading under the ticker symbol "M" come June. The stock is now yielding 0.8%.

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. The Fool has a disclosure policy.