AWS Cloud Financial Management

Launch: AWS Budgets Actions

Imagine you can put some real teeth to your AWS Budgets.  Rather than warning you of a forecasted or actual cost overage, AWS can act on your behalf and stop the activities that caused the overage. We are pleased to announce that this came to a reality with the launch of AWS Budget Actions. Our Senior Product Manager, Matt Cowsert, will share how you can create your very own budget actions today.

AWS Budgets now allows you to configure actions — responses to cost and usage in your account or set of accounts— that will be applied automatically or via a workflow approval process once a budget target has been exceeded. There are three action types: Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies, Service Control policies (SCPs), or target running instances (EC2 or RDS). Actions can be configured for actual (after they’ve occurred) or for forecasted (before they occur) budgeted amounts.

To get started with AWS Budgets Actions, navigate to the AWS Budgets Dashboard view.

You’ll notice a new “Actions“ column, which lists the status of your budget actions (e.g., standby, pending, or exceeded).

To create an action, select ”Create budget“ in the top right-hand corner of the screen. You can create actions for cost and usage budgets. Once you have input your budget parameters, such as budget name, period, and amount, you can can apply filters to further segment your costs. When you are comfortable with your budget parameters and filters, select the ”Configure thresholds“ button in the bottom left-hand corner to move to the next step.

With this release you’ll notice that we’ve renamed budget alerts section to budget thresholds. This change was made to distinguish between a budget notification and a budget action notification, which can both be triggered from the same threshold parameters. We’ve also removed the mandatory requirement for a recipient for budget notifications, while budget action notifications do require a notification recipient.

Once you have defined your budget threshold (actual or forecasted cost on an absolute value or % of budgeted amount basis) and budget notification recipients (optional),  you can move to the next step, which is configuring your budget action.

For this example, we are going to use the same notification settings I defined in the budget notification. To get started, you need to first grant AWS Budgets IAM permissions to execute actions on your behalf. We provide a link to an example IAM role as well as a managed IAM policy for AWS Budgets Actions configuration that you can access via the dropdown list (we display both AWS managed and user-generated IAM policies).

Once you have given AWS Budgets your permissions, you’ll then choose from one of the three action types. You can choose to apply an IAM policy (targeting a user, group, or role), a Service Control Policy (targeting an AWS Organizational Unit if you are in the Master account of an AWS Organization) or specific EC2 or RDS running resources in your account. Once you have determined your action type and configuration, you need to decide if you want the action to execute automatically, or via a workflow approval process. Our default recommendation is a workflow approval process but if you know without a doubt you want to execute your action without human intervention, select the toggle to “Yes” for automatic execution. Once you are satisfied with your configuration, select the “Confirm budget” button to review your budget details.

Note: While we are only showing one action in this example, you can configure up to 10 actions per threshold. This is helpful if you want to apply restrictive permissions and target specific running resource at once.

If everything looks good, you can select “Done” to complete the creation of the budget and budget action, otherwise select the “Edit” link in the Budget details section to make additional adjustments before completing the budget creation process.

For budget actions that require workflow approval, once an action has been trigged for your budget, you will see a “pending” status on your budgets dashboard as well as a budget action notification via email, Simple Notification Service Topic, or Slack/Chime if you’ve configured the AWS Chatbot to receive AWS Budgets notifications. By clicking through your budget action notification, you’ll be directed to the budget details page. From the budget details page, within the Thresholds section, you can select “More info” on your pending actions to learn more.

The AWS Budgets action view will allow you to quickly understand your threshold details, any pending actions awaiting your approval, as well as the previous configurations for a specific action (e.g., once an action is created it will assume a status of “Standby”). If you decide to execute an action, we log the success or failure of the action as well as any additional adjustments throughout the budgeted period. If you decide to undo (reverse) an action within the budget period, we will not re-evaluate the action until the next period. If you would like to re-evaluate the action in the current period, you can do so by resetting the reversed action back standby.


Budget actions that are focused on applying policies (IAM or SCP) will be reset at the beginning of each budget period (e.g., October to November) while actions that are focused on targeting specific resources will not reset at the next budget period.

With this workflow, you can now configure cost-saving mechanisms for pre-defined budget targets. To learn more about how to leverage AWS Budgets Actions to reduce your costs, see the AWS Budgets webpage or the Configuring AWS Budgets controls section of the Managing Your Costs With Budgets user guide.


The AWS Budgets family is growing its capabilities to help you better plan and control your costs.  With custom budget threshold and variance tracking, you can monitor how your cost, usage, or your Reserved Instances and Savings Plans’ utilization and coverage progresses towards your target. With Budget Reports, you can keep your stakeholders up to date with your budget status. With Budget Alerts, you can stay informed when your budget limits are (or are about to be) exceeded.  Now with Budget Actions, you can authorize AWS to take actions to stop the activities that caused your cost overage.

Bowen Wang

Bowen Wang

Bowen is a Principal Product Marketing Manager for AWS Billing and Cost Management services. She focuses on enabling finance and business leaders to better understand the value of the cloud and ways to optimize their cloud financial management. In her previous career, she helped a tech start up enter the Chinese market.

Matt Cowsert

Matt Cowsert

Matt Cowsert is a Principal Product Manager (Technical) who supports multiple AWS Billing and Cost Management services, with the latest as the AWS Billing Conductor. He focuses on delivering solutions to simplify customers' billing experience and better align AWS billing processes with customers' business needs.