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Trump took the White House on the cheap, spending less than Clinton to the end

Donald Trump's campaign spending kept trailing rival Hillary Clinton's cash burn ahead of his surprise presidential victory last month and after it.

The Republican candidate spent $94.5 million from Oct. 28 to Nov. 28, while his Democratic rival spent $131.8 million in the same period, according to Federal Election Commission reports filed Thursday. Clinton's spending spiked much more dramatically in the final days — Trump's expenses rose from about $49 million in the Oct. 1 to Oct. 19 period, while Clinton's climbed from about $50 million.

Trump topped Clinton in receipts for the period, bringing in $86.1 million versus Clinton's $70.2 million. Just over half of Trump's cash came in the form of transfers from other committees, such as fundraising operations with the Republican Party. Trump personally gave $10 million to his campaign in that period, bringing his total contributions for the cycle to more than $65 million.

Trump mounted an upset victory even as he consistently spent less than Clinton, and most other recent presidential nominees, throughout the race. Trump, of course, received estimated billions of dollars in free media due to bizarre and controversial statements on the campaign trail.

For perspective, President Barack Obama's campaign spent $176.4 million from Oct. 18 to Nov. 26, 2012. Republican nominee Mitt Romney reported spending $105.3 million in the same period.

Despite his comparatively frugal effort, Trump did increase spending in some key areas ahead of Election Day.

Trump's campaign spending on "placed media" doubled to $38.9 million in the newly reported period, up from $19.3 in the first few weeks of October. "Digital consulting/online advertising" expenses spiked to $28.9 million from $14.2 million.

That nearly $29 million chunk went to Giles-Parscale, the firm of Trump advisor and digital director Brad Parscale. The campaign spent more than $70 million there for the cycle.

Payroll spending about doubled to $1.1 million.

Trump also reported about $3 million in campaign expenses at his family businesses. He routinely used his own properties for events, lodging and transportation throughout the campaign.

The vast majority of Clinton's spending, meanwhile, went to media. Her campaign reported $72.3 million in "media buy" expenses. Payroll expenses of $4.7 million more than quadrupled Trump's.

— NBC News contributed to this report