AWS Cost Categories

Map cost and usage information to your organizational structure

AWS Cost Categories is a feature within AWS Cost Management product suite that enables you to group cost and usage information into meaningful categories based on your needs. You can create custom categories and map your cost and usage information into these categories based on the rules defined by you using various dimensions such as account, tag, service, charge type, and even other cost categories. Once cost categories are set up and enabled, you will be able to view your cost and usage information by these categories starting at the beginning of the month in AWS Cost Explorer, AWS Budgets, and AWS Cost and Usage Report (CUR).

Automatically categorize your cost information into custom groups

You can use AWS Cost Categories to define custom rules to map to your internal business and organizational structures. After defining categorization rules, the system will organize your costs starting at the beginning of the month. Customers can visualize and monitor spend by viewing these categories in AWS Cost Explorer, AWS Budgets, and Cost and Usage Report (CUR).

(zoomed) 1. CC Dashboard

Getting Started

Create your categories

Cost Categories enables you to define custom groups based on your AWS Cost and Usage dimensions, and automatically assigns all new usage line items to these categories. The name you give your cost category should be a familiar term to your organization (e.g. Cost Center, Project, and Environment). This name will appear as the header of a new column in your Cost and Usage Report (CUR) and as a filter in Cost Explorer and Budgets.

For example, if you view your organization as teams, you can name your cost category, ‘Teams’. There can be multiple teams in your organization and each team is made up of numerous accounts. You can use Cost Categories to categorize accounts into teams and have those groups appear in Cost Explorer, Budgets, and CUR.


Create cost categories »

(zoomed) 2. CC Dashboard empty

Define category rules

The rule builder allows you to create cost category values. These values represent the internal organizational units. Define category rules using custom logic to build groups of cost line items. You can create Cost Categories using the rule builder or the JSON editor.

Continuing with the example, you can build out two teams, one called Alpha and the other called Beta. In the first rule, you can give the value Alpha to certain accounts, choose the Accounts as dimension, and select the accounts that are in Team Alpha.

You can continue writing more rules for each team. But the rules are listed in a priority order and have precedence over the later rules.

Define category rules »


Define split charge rules (optional)

Every organization has a set of costs that are shared by multiple teams, business units, or financial owners, for instance, data transfer costs, enterprise support, or operational costs of a central infrastructure team. These costs are not directly attributable to a single owner, and so cannot be categorized into a singular Cost Category value. With split charge rules, you can equitably allocate these costs across your Cost Category values.

Continuing with the example, you can first define a category rule to categorize your shared costs into a Cost Category value “Shared costs”. Then, you can define a split charge rule with the “Shared costs” as the source to be split across your teams with a desired charge allocation method. The allocation method (even-split, fixed-percentage split, or proportional cost-based split) determines how your source costs are split across your targets.

Split Charge Rule - 1

Viewing your Cost Category details

Cost Categories details page provides you an overview of your cost allocations within your Cost Categories. You can see a graphical overview, absolute amounts, and percent breakdowns of your cost allocation across your Cost Category values, along with uncategorized costs. If you have defined split charge rules, you can also view the split and total allocated costs. This includes the costs for before and after calculating the split charges. You can also download a CSV report from the details page. The details page is presented after you create or edit your Cost Category. The Cost Category status will initially be “Processing” and will change to “Applied” once your costs have been categorized with your updates.

Cost Categories Details page with Split Charges

Leverage multilevel hierarchies

You can create multilevel hierarchical relationships among your cost categories by using Cost Category as a dimension. Your organization might comprise multiple cost centers spanning across several departments, with each department itself containing multiple teams. You can easily set up hierarchical cost categories to exactly match your organizational structure and track your cost and usage at every level.

Consider the cost category “Team” from the previous example which was created using Account and Tag as dimensions, and values as “Alpha” and “Beta”. To further categorize your teams into separate departments, you can create a “Department” cost category that is built on top of your existing “Team” cost category by selecting dimension as Cost Category and “Team” as the Cost Category name for the dimension. You can then select “Alpha” and “Beta” as dimension values for “Platform Engineering” department and “FinOps-1” and “FinOps-2” as dimension values for “FinOps” department.


Next, you can categorize your departments into separate cost centers by creating a “Cost Center” category. As done previously, select dimension as Cost Category and “Department” as the Cost Category name for the dimension. You can then select previously created “FinOps” and “Platform Engineering” departments as dimension values for “Cloud COE”. You can also select other teams that are not categorized as departments by using “Team” as the Cost Category name and selecting “DataScience-1” and “CoreProduct” teams as dimension value for “Research Center”.

Latest AWS Cost Management Blogs


No blog posts have been found at this time. Please see AWS Blog for other resources.


Read more at the AWS Cost Management Blog »

Ready to get started?

Standard Product Icons (Features) Squid Ink
Check out the product features

Learn more about features for cost management, cost optimization, and more.

Learn more 
Sign up for a free account
Sign up for a free account

Instantly get access to the AWS Free Tier and start managing your AWS costs. 

Sign up 
Standard Product Icons (Start Building) Squid Ink
Create cost categories

AWS Cost Categories automatically categorizes your cost information into custom groups.

Get started