How can I use Cost Explorer to analyze my spending and usage?

Last updated: 2020-06-11

How can I use Cost Explorer to analyze my spending and usage?

Short Description

With Cost Explorer, you can do the following:

  • Review charges and usage associated with your account.
  • Forecast estimated spending for the next three months.
  • Get recommendations on utilization and coverage of your Reserved Instances (RIs).


First, enable Cost Explorer for your account:

  1. Open the Billing and Cost Management console.
  2. From the navigation pane, choose Cost Explorer.
  3. Choose Enable Cost Explorer.

After you enable Cost Explorer, you might need to wait for up to 24 hours for cost and usage data to populate.

To view your cost and usage data, do the following:

  1. Open the AWS Cost Management console.
  2. Choose Cost Explorer from the navigation pane.
  3. You can use one of the pre-configured reports in the Reports drop-down menu to analyze your costs.
  4. (Optional) You can also create a customer report by choosing New Report. Choose Create report next to the report that you want to create. Then, save the report for later use by choosing Save as.

Here are some common uses for Cost Explorer:

Compare your month-to-month costs

To compare your month-to-month costs, use the Monthly costs by service report. By default, the chart displays the five services with the highest costs. However, the table includes cost data for all the services that you used.

You can also investigate temporary spikes in your billing by opening the Monthly costs by service report. Then, under Monthly, choose Daily instead.

Understand costs for your resources by service

  1. Open the Service filter.
  2. Select the services that you want to investigate.
  3. Choose Apply Filters.
  4. For Group by, choose Usage Type.

For example, to see how much you're billed for data transfer for Elastic Load Balancing, choose the EC2-ELB service in FILTERS. Then, choose Usage Type for Group by. Then, look for data transfer.

View costs by cost allocation tag

To view costs by cost allocation tag, choose Tag for Group by. The Tag option isn't available if you have no cost allocation tags. When you create a new cost allocation tag, you might need to wait up to three days for the tag to appear in Cost Explorer.

View unblended cost data for an organization

To view unblended cost data for member accounts in an organization, select Unblended costs for Show costs as in ADVANCED OPTIONS.

View taxes by account

  1. For Group by, choose Linked account.
  2. Open the Service filter, and then choose Tax.

View RI utilization

To view your RI utilization, select RI Utilization from the Reports drop-down menu.

  • View the combined usage of all your purchased RIs in the chart and the utilization of individual RIs in the table.
  • View the utilization of your RIs as the percentage of purchased RI hours in the chart.
  • View the number of RI hours used against the number of RI hours purchased in the table.
  • Select a single RI or a group of RIs in the table to view their respective utilization in the chart.
  • Use the information in the table to track the number of RI hours that you have reserved but did not use.

View RI coverage

To view your RI coverage, select RI Coverage from the Reports drop-down menu.

  • See the number of instance hours covered by your RIs in the chart.
  • Track the number of hours you have totally used and how many of those are covered by your RIs.
  • View the number of hours covered by RIs against the On Demand hours in the table.
  • Select a single RI or a group of RIs in the table to view their respective coverage in the chart.

View your RI recommendations

To view your Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) RI recommendations and estimated annual savings, choose Recommendations in the navigation pane. The RI recommendations are provided based on your past EC2 usage.