TYLER (KYTX) - Teachers here and across East Texas are reaching deep into their wallets to buy supplies right now.
"The cost just keeps going up and up." says Joann Ellis, a second grade teacher at Chandler Elementary School.
She's still buying last-minute supplies and decorations for her classroom.
"The kids want to see it personalized. They're going to be in that room for nine months."
But, she says a room that's warm and welcoming doesn't come cheap.
"On this last shopping trip, I probably spent about $250-$300. And, that's from a teacher who's been teaching- this is my sixth year."
Eliis says it's even harder for new teachers who are starting their supply list from scratch.
To cut costs, she says it's all about getting creative.
"You get smart and you think, do I need that? Can I make that?"
And, she says it pays to take advantage of deals and discounts.
"Stores are realizing how much we kind of spend out of pocket, and kind of helping. And, we tend to shop at stores that will help us."
She says it was a huge help when a few of the parents gave her gift cards last year.
"They really want you to spend it on yourself, but teachers- we just really want to give back to those kids."
According to a new survey from the "National School Supply and Equipment Association," teachers will spend an average of $500 each on back to school shopping.