In this tutorial, you will learn how to control your costs while exploring AWS service offerings using the AWS Free Tier. In addition, you will learn to use AWS Budgets to set up a cost budget to monitor any costs associated with your usage.
The AWS Free Tier is a discount program that lets you gain free, hands-on experience with AWS products and services. All new AWS accounts include the Free Tier so you don't have to sign up for it, allowing you to try out the services you need to build your workloads from day one. With over 100 services in the Free Tier, you can do lots of exploring at a reasonable cost, or even for free.
Monitoring your service usage and associated costs while you are exploring and scaling your usage of AWS is often cited as a top concern. To make sure you don't exceed the Free Tier usage thresholds and your overall budget, we recommend using AWS Budgets. With the cost control features of AWS Budgets, you can create custom cost budgets that alert you when you exceed your budgeted threshold. In this tutorial, you will learn about the AWS Free Tier offering, discover how AWS Budgets monitors your Free Tier usage by default, and how to create a total monthly cost budget that alerts you when you exceed, or are forecasted to exceed, your budget.
It is a best practice to create a total monthly cost budget for each AWS account you use. AWS Budgets has a Free Tier limit of 62 budget days per month, so creating a single budget falls within the AWS Free Tier limit. As the name implies, AWS Free Tier-eligible service usage is free.
What you will accomplish
In this tutorial, you will learn how to:
- Understand the Free Tier
- Review your spend and usage
- Set up a cost budget
Before starting this tutorial, you will need:
- An AWS account: If you don't already have one, follow the Setting Up Your AWS Environment tutorial for a quick overview.
Time to complete
Cost to complete
Free Tier eligible
- AWS account
- Recommended browser: The latest version of Chrome or Firefox
[**]Accounts created within the past 24 hours might not yet have access to the services required for this tutorial.
Aug 23, 2022
Step 1: Explore the AWS Free Tier
a. Access the AWS Free Tier page
Open the Free Tier page, so you can keep this step-by-step guide open. On the AWS Free Tier page, under the AWS Free Tier Details header, choose the 12 months free link.
b. Explore 12 months free offers
These free tier offers are only available to new AWS customers, and are available for 12 months following your AWS sign-up date. When your 12 month free usage term expires or if your application use exceeds the tiers, you simply pay standard, pay-as-you-go service rates (see each service page for full pricing details).
Notable offers for the first 12 months following your AWS account sign-up include some level of free usage for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), and many other useful services.
c. Access the Always free page
On the AWS Free Tier page, choose the Always free link to view the Always free offers.
d. Explore Always free offers
Notable Always free offers include some level of free usage for AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon CloudWatch, and many other useful services.
e. Access the Free trials page
On the AWS Free Tier page, choose the Free trials link to view the Free trials offers.
f. Explore trial offers
Step 2: Sign up for AWS (or sign in)
Already have an account? Sign-in
Step 3: Review your spend and Free Tier usage
In this step, you will use the AWS Billing Console to review your overall AWS spend and Free Tier usage.
a. Access the billing dashboard
After you have logged in to your account, from the account menu, choose Billing Dashboard.
b. Review your billing dashboard
Once you reach the AWS Billing Dashboard page, you can view a summary of your month-to-date costs in the AWS Summary section, as well as the cost trend for your top five services for the most recent three to six closed billing periods in the Cost trend by top five services section.
c. Access all your Free Tier usage
To dive deeper into your Free Tier eligible usage, choose Free Tier from the left navigation pane.
d. Analyze all your Free Tier usage
In the Summary section on the AWS Free Tier page, all of your usage of services in the Free Tier are listed. In addition to your Current usage, your forecasted service usage by the end of the month is detailed in the Forecasted usage column.
In the example screenshot, note that the forecasted usage of EC2 is 2 GB-mo. Exceeding the limit of the Free Tier generally results in a billable charge.
e. Modify your AWS Free Tier Usage Limit email alerts
Step 4: Set up a cost budget
In this step, you will set up a cost budget in the AWS Billing Console using AWS Budgets. As part of your cost budget, you will set up three notifications: one for if your costs reach 80% of your budget, one for if your costs are forecasted to exceed your budget, and one if your costs do exceed your budget.
a. Create budget
From the navigation menu on the left, select Budgets then choose Create a budget on the AWS Budgets console page.
b. Choose budget type
On the Choose budget type page, choose Cost budget under Budget types.
c. Set budget details
d. Configure alert for when actual cost exceeds 80% of budget threshold
Choose Add an alert threshold.
Configure the alert to be triggered when actual costs are greater than 80% of budgeted amount, as shown in the screen shot. Add your email address and the email address of anyone who should receive this alert in the Email recipients field.
e. Configure alert for when actual cost exceeds your budget
From the Configure alerts page, choose Add alert threshold.
Configure this alert to be triggered when forecasted costs are greater than 100% of the budgeted amount, as shown in the screen shot. Add your email address and the email address of anyone who should receive this alert in the Email recipients field.
f. Configure alert for when actual costs exceed your budget
Configure this alert to notify you when actual costs are greater than 100% of budgeted amount. Add your email address and the email address of anyone who should receive this alert in the Email recipients field.
g. Attach actions (optional)
Choose Next to view the attach actions page.
A budget action allows you to define and trigger cost-saving responses to reinforce a cost-conscious culture. You have the option to attach actions that run whenever your alert threshold has been exceeded, such as stopping an EC2 instance from incurring any further costs. You can select the alerts to which you would like to attach actions, then define these actions.
Choose Next to review the budget details on the Review page.
h. Inspect your new budget
To dive deeper into your budget details, select your new budget.
From there, you can view your budget details, access a budget performance summary, and inspect your historical budget performance.
Congratulations! You have finished the Control Your AWS Costs tutorial.
You have successfully analyzed your Free Tier usage and have created a total monthly cost budget using AWS Budgets. Using the AWS Billing Console, you can access a number of tools to help you better understand your costs and usage, including AWS Free Tier Usage Limit email alerts and AWS Budgets. The AWS Free Tier enables you to gain free, hands-on experience with AWS products and services.
Continue your journey with AWS by following the next steps section below.