Trump spent about half of what Clinton did on his way to the presidency

Trump spent way less than Clinton to win election

Donald Trump threw out campaign spending conventions as he stormed his way to the American presidency.

The businessman racked up 278 electoral votes as of Wednesday morning, versus 228 for Clinton, with three states still not called by NBC News.

Trump did so with thin traditional campaign spending. His chaotic and often divisive campaign drew constant eyeballs, earning him billions of dollars in free media and allowing him to spend comparatively little on television ads and ground operations.

His campaign committee spent about $238.9 million through mid-October, compared with $450.6 million by Clinton's. That equals about $859,538 spent per Trump electoral vote, versus about $1.97 million spent per Clinton electoral vote.

Those numbers do not include spending from Oct. 20 to Election Day.

While Trump's campaign increased its spending on television ads in its final election push, it still used the traditional outreach tool much less than Clinton's did. As of late October, Clinton spent's campaign spent about $141.7 million on ads, compared with $58.8 million for Trump's campaign, according to NBC News.

That disparity extended to campaign payrolls. For example, Clinton's campaign had about 800 people on payroll at the end of August, versus about 130 for Trump's. Democrats often have larger ground operations than Republicans.

Still, it wasn't just Clinton who heavily outspent Trump. He shelled out much less money than other recent nominees, as well.

Through mid-October 2012, the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent $630.8 million and $360.7 million, respectively.

Obama's campaign also spent about $593.9 million through mid-October 2008. Sen. John McCain's 2008 campaign actually spent less than Trump, about $216.8 million through mid-October.