Donna Klie and Julie Smith spent their day shopping at Teaching Touches Parent Teacher Store on West 26th Street for school supplies and classroom decorations.

"I usually start as soon as school's out in June, I start thinking about next year," said Donna Klie.

"This is my to-do list, it's a little bit bigger than my to-buy list. But I've gotten smart over the years," said Julie Smith. 

Klie teaches third grade at Conneaut Lake Elementary School and Smith teaches Kindergarten at Union City Elementary School. They're among the thousands of teachers using their own money to purchase supplies. Both said they easily spend a few hundred dollars each year.

"In Kindergarten I do a lot of extra things, different thematic units where we learn different about penguins, or different animals, or different healthy foods," said Smith. 

Most of their money goes towards their rooms, some teachers invest in specific furniture, organization bins, and themes.

"Our room is our home for the year, and it makes us all feel good when it looks good, and it's comforting and relaxing, but stimulating also," said Klie.

While decorating their classrooms is fun for the teachers, one of the ways some save money is by sticking with the same theme for several years.

"So they take their bulletin boards down carefully, save them for the next year. It'll be monkeys, or frogs, or whatever, because each year it's a new batch of kids," said Robin Wisner.

Robin Wisner co-owns Teaching Touches, said it's inspiring seeing the hard work teachers put in to creating their classrooms.

"When those kids go into a classroom, and their names on a desk, and they know they belong there, it's a good feeling," said Wisner.

"When you walk into a classroom that's colorful, and has got texts everywhere, and there's a theme the kids can enjoy, they're excited about school," said Smith.

Now Smith and Klie are ready for their first day.

"I'm just excited for the school year to start, and to see my new kids," said Klie.

The teachers say the also utilize rewards programs, and sales when back-to-school shopping.

Wisner suggests to help teachers out, when buying gifts for them think of a gift card to a teacher store or bookstore, so they can help replenish their classroom.