AWS Billing and Cost Management
User Guide (Version 2.0)

Creating a Billing Alarm

Even if you're careful to stay within the free tier, it's a good idea to create a billing alarm to notify you if you exceed the limits of the free tier. Billing alarms can help to protect you against unknowingly accruing charges if you inadvertently use a service outside of the free tier or if traffic exceeds your expectations.

After you complete this procedure, you'll receive an email as soon as your account's usage exceeds the free tier limits. At that point, you can decide whether to terminate the AWS resources that have exceeded the free tier limits, or keep them running and be billed at the standard AWS rates.


If your account is linked to a reseller account, billing alerts are not available.

Enable billing alerts

Before you create a billing alarm, you must enable billing alerts. You need to do this only once. After you enable billing alerts, you can't turn them off.

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the Billing and Cost Management console at

  2. On the navigation pane, choose Preferences.

  3. Select the Receive Billing Alerts check box.

  4. Choose Save preferences.

Create a billing alarm

  1. Open the CloudWatch console at

  2. If necessary, change the region on the navigation bar to US East (N. Virginia). The billing metric data is stored in this region, even for resources in other regions.

  3. On the navigation pane, under Alarms, choose Billing.

  4. Choose Create Alarm.

  5. If you want the alarm to trigger as soon as you go over the free tier, set When my total AWS charges for the month exceed to $.01. This means that you'll receive a notification as soon as you incur a charge. Otherwise, set it to the amount you want to trigger the alarm, and you will be notified when you go over that amount.

  6. For send a notification to, specify an email address. If you have created Amazon SNS topics, you can choose a topic or you can choose New list and enter an email address when prompted.

  7. CloudWatch sends a confirmation mail to the address you specified. Click the link in that mail to confirm that you are willing to receive alerts to that address.