AWS Cloud Financial Management

Public Beta: AWS Cost Categories

Since re:Invent, one of the hot topics in my queue has been identifying ways to better allocate and manage cloud costs. Today I wanted to quickly dive into how you can get started using Cost Categories, a new feature set that allows you to create custom groups on top of your cost and usage information. It may sound a tad melodramatic, but, after extensive research, I think that Cost Categories will be the way of the future. Let’s get started.

This post will show you how you can create, manage, and explore your cost and usage data using Cost Categories.

Getting Started with AWS Cost Categories

To locate the Cost Categories public beta features, navigate to the Billing console. In the left-hand sidebar, choose the Cost Categories (beta) option.

Billing Console Sidebar


Creating a New Cost Category

Cost Categories allow you to create custom groups of billing line items. These categories are built using a wizard-driven workflow, so it’s easy to get started. If I were you, I might sneak over into Cost Explorer at this juncture to get a sense of the tags and accounts that currently have a high volume of usage (and where there may be a gap or two in coverage. My expert tip of the day: keep Cost Explorer open in a second tab so that you can quickly reference the tags that are currently in use.

Back on the Cost Categories page, choose Create cost category when you’re ready.

Provide a descriptive name for your cost category. In this case, I will be creating cost categories for my different operating regions.

Name your Cost Category

Using Cost Categories, you can create categories based on accounts or tags. Currently, my operating regions are reflected as tags.

In the example below, I have created a tag-based cost category for one operating region (APAC). However, I would like to merge my Europe, Africa, and Middle East tags into a single EMEA cost dimension. I can do this using the rule builder.

Cost Category Rule Builder

Please note that Savings Plans and Reserved Instances are not directly taggable at this time; however, they will inherit the tags associated with the instances to which these pricing models are applied.

Managing your Cost Categories

Once you’ve configured a cost category, the dashboard will reflect the cost category that you’ve created alongside the total number of rules used. You can also review your cost category at any time in Cost Explorer.

Cost Category Created Successfully

Additionally, Cost Categories are also available as a supported dimension in Cost Explorer, Budgets, and the Cost & Usage Reports. Please note that it can take up to 24 hours for your cost categories information to flow through to these products.


In sum, cost categories allow you to tailor your AWS cost and usage data so that it matches your business needs. You can then use these concepts throughout the AWS Cost Management suite (Cost Explorer, Budgets, and the Cost & Usage Reports). Learn more here.

Do you have any feedback about the new cost categories feature set? Let me know! Also, by popular demand, here’s another snap of Moira (just another floofer at Amazon).


Erin Carlson

Erin Carlson

Erin leads a team of designers who are laser-focused on enhancing the experience of accessing, analyzing, and optimizing AWS costs and usage. She also works with customers and field teams worldwide to provide product training and guidance around best practices for using the AWS Cost Management product portfolio. Erin was the Product Marketing Manager who first developed and oversaw the AWS Cost Management brand.