Explore Your AWS Costs and Usage with AWS Cost Explorer



As you get up and running on AWS, it is important to keep an eye on your costs and usage. In this tutorial, you will learn how you can use AWS Cost Explorer to visualize and understand your usage patterns and cost drivers, as well as create custom reports that you can share with other members of your organization.

AWS Cost Explorer is an easy-to-use interface that lets you visualize, understand, and manage your AWS costs and usage over time. Using AWS Cost Explorer, you can create and save custom reports that analyze your cost and usage data, both at a high level (such as, total costs and usage across all accounts) and for highly specific requests (such as, m2.2xlarge costs within account Y that are tagged “project: secretProject”).

Using the AWS Cost Explorer web application will not incur any cost. If you choose to access the AWS Cost Explorer API, there will be a charge of $0.01 per paginated request.

What you will accomplish

In this tutorial, you will:

  • use AWS Cost Explorer to visualize and understand your usage patterns and cost drivers
  • create custom reports that you can share with other members of your organization.


Before starting this tutorial, you will need:


 AWS experience


 Time to complete

10 minutes

 Cost to complete

Free Tier Eligible


AWS account

*Accounts that have been created within the last 24 hours might not yet have access to the resources required for this tutorial.

 Services used

AWS Cost Explorer

 Last updated

January 17, 2023

1. Sign-up for AWS (or Sign-in)

There is no additional charge associated with using the AWS Billing Console for this tutorial. The resources you create in this tutorial are Free Tier eligible. The button and link to the right open a new tab so you can follow this tutorial in the AWS console.

Already have an account? Sign-in

Step 2. Access and customize the Service Quotas dashboard

In this step, you will open the AWS Management Console.

a. Access the AWS Management Console
Open the AWS Management Console in a separate tab so you can keep this step-by-step guide open. When the screen loads, enter your user name and password to get started. Search for AWS Cost Explorer in the top navigation search bar and select AWS Cost Explorer.

AWS Cost Explorer can also be accessed from your account billing dashboard.

b. Review the AWS Cost Explorer summary dashboard

From this page, you can view your month-to-date costs, your forecasted month-end costs, and trends for your monthly spending. You can also review the monthly Trends functionality, which will highlight areas of anomalous spending, based on your historical usage.

Note: It can take up to 24 hours for your month-to-date cost and usage information to load for the first time.


Step 3: Explore your AWS costs and usage

In this step, you will use the AWS Billing Console to review your overall AWS spending and usage.
a. Access the Cost & Usage data exploration interface.

For now, choose the Cost Explorer option from the lefthand menu.

b. Explore AWS Costs
This report provides a broad overview of your AWS costs and usage, making it easy to identify your underlying cost drivers.
c. Change the Chart Type

To make the data easier to compare, change the Chart Type to Stack.

d. Review Costs & Usage

Review your service costs and usage.

It appears that the account in the example has recently begun ramping up their usage of Amazon EC2.

Step 4: Explore specific AWS service usage

In this step, you will dive deeper into a specific service's cost and usage.
a. Adjust the filter selection
Adjust the filter selection to include only costs associated with a specific AWS service. In this example, we will filter for Amazon EC2 usage by selecting Service from the filter menu, then selecting EC2-Instances (Elastic Compute Cloud – Compute) and then Apply filters.


b. Review cost for a specific AWS service

In this case, we will review costs associated with Amazon EC2 from the example in the previous step.

c. Group by Usage Type

To get a better sense of what type of usage is driving the most cost, group your data by Usage Type. In the Group by selector area, choose Usage Type, or select More if Usage Type is not visible.

d. Visualize your cost drivers

Identify your cost drivers.

Step 5: Identify month-to-date costs

In this step, you will analyze your month-to-date costs in the AWS Cost Explorer Console.
a. Identify month-to-date costs

To get a sense of how your costs are trending, adjust the time interval to MTD (month-to-date) by selecting the time interval dropdown, choosing MTD at the bottom, and selecting Apply.

b. Review results
Review month-to-date results.

c. Adjust data granularity

Adjust the data granularity so that data is presented at the Daily level.

d. Review month-to-date costs

You can now see your data broken down by daily month-to-date costs.

e. Dive deeper into data

To dive deeper into your costs and usage, you can refer to the detailed data table at the bottom of the screen.

You can also export your chart and table reports in .csv format.

Step 6: Save your report

In this step, you will learn how to save a custom report.

a. Save and name your report

Now that you better understand your Amazon EC2 costs and usage, it is likely that this analysis will come in handy for the future. To save this report, choose the Save as button.

b. Provide a name for your custom report and choose Save Report.

c. Access Reports library

Please note that you can create and save up to 50 custom reports.

To access a list of all saved reports, select the Reports option in the left navigation menu.

d. View your saved reports

On the Reports page, you can view a list of your saved reports, as well as high-level information.


Congratulations! You have successfully analyzed your AWS costs and usage using AWS Cost Explorer. Using AWS Cost Explorer, you can quickly identify your usage patterns and cost drivers, identify opportunities for savings, and save custom reports that you and your team can refer back to later.

With AWS Cost Explorer, you can dive deeper into your costs by filtering and grouping your data across any available cost and usage dimension, including Linked Accounts, Tags, and more.

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Next steps

To learn more about how to manage your AWS costs, explore the following resources.

A Beginner’s Guide to AWS Cost Management

This post provides you with a high-level conceptual map for managing your AWS costs and usage.

Tips and Tricks for Exploring Your Data in AWS Cost Explorer

In this post, discover helpful tips and tricks for diving deeper into your costs and usage to take your service-, account-, or AWS Region-based reports to the next level.

Control your AWS costs with the AWS Free Tier and AWS Budgets

In this tutorial, you will learn how to control your costs while exploring AWS service offerings using the AWS Free Tier. You will also set up a cost budget in AWS Budgets to monitor costs associated with your usage.