Krista Das says she's the girl every cable and Internet company hates.
Krista, 33, makes a good living in health-care communications, and lives in a beautiful brick high-rise condominium in the historic Mount Vernon section of Baltimore, Maryland, a mile north of the Inner Harbor. Her building has a 24-hour front desk person, a doorman and a valet.
But that doesn't mean Krista is willing to accept high prices, either as a consumer or at work.
Every six months, Krista has a little chat with her cable company, and the result is always the same—she ends up with a lower rate.
How you can get a lower cable/satellite rate
"My cable company was trying to charge me $109 a month for 200 channels plus HBO and Showtime, but I got it down to $72 a month for the same package," Krista told me. "I go through a separate company for Internet because their rates are better even with my cable provider's 'special discount' for a bundled package—$206 for cable, Internet, and phone combined per month for the first six months. Then the rate goes up after that. Ridiculous! Plus it gives me better leverage by having two companies that don't want to lose a customer."
One thing Krista has learned is not to select "billing" on the phone tree when she has her semi-annual conversation with her cable company. When she did that, she got 'no' for an answer.
"The representative was very rude and said that a $5 monthly discount was the best he could do. He told me that if I didn't agree at that moment, then the deal was off. So I hung up and called back, but this time connected to the cancellation department."
Krista had no intention of cancelling her cable service. That wasn't a good option, because her building prohibits satellite TV, and she didn't have any other pay TV choices. But she didn't tell her cable company that.
"I simply explained that while I was happy with their service, my rates had become too high and asked if there was anything they could do to retain me as a customer. The representative was more than willing to assist and that is when he knocked $37 a month off my bill."
Read more about Krista's story in Clark Howard's Living Large for the Long Haul.