Create a billing alarm to monitor your estimated AWS charges - Amazon CloudWatch

Create a billing alarm to monitor your estimated AWS charges

You can monitor your estimated AWS charges by using Amazon CloudWatch. When you enable the monitoring of estimated charges for your AWS account, the estimated charges are calculated and sent several times daily to CloudWatch as metric data.

Billing metric data is stored in the US East (N. Virginia) Region and represents worldwide charges. This data includes the estimated charges for every service in AWS that you use, in addition to the estimated overall total of your AWS charges.

The alarm triggers when your account billing exceeds the threshold you specify. It triggers only when the current billing exceeds the threshold. It doesn't use projections based on your usage so far in the month.

If you create a billing alarm at a time when your charges have already exceeded the threshold, the alarm goes to the ALARM state immediately.


For information about analyzing CloudWatch charges that you have already been billed for, see CloudWatch billing and cost.

Enabling billing alerts

Before you can create an alarm for your estimated charges, you must enable billing alerts, so that you can monitor your estimated AWS charges and create an alarm using billing metric data. After you enable billing alerts, you can't disable data collection, but you can delete any billing alarms that you created.

After you enable billing alerts for the first time, it takes about 15 minutes before you can view billing data and set billing alarms.

  • You must be signed in using account root user credentials or as an IAM user that has been given permission to view billing information.

  • For consolidated billing accounts, billing data for each linked account can be found by logging in as the paying account. You can view billing data for total estimated charges and estimated charges by service for each linked account, in addition to the consolidated account.

  • In a consolidated billing account, member linked account metrics are captured only if the payer account enables the Receive Billing Alerts preference. If you change which account is your management/payer account, you must enable the billing alerts in the new management/payer account.

  • The account must not be part of the Amazon Partner Network (APN) because billing metrics are not published to CloudWatch for APN accounts. For more information, see AWS Partner Network.

To enable the monitoring of estimated charges
  1. Open the AWS Billing console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Billing Preferences.

  3. By Alert preferences choose Edit.

  4. Choose Receive CloudWatch Billing Alerts.

  5. Choose Save preferences.

Create a billing alarm


Before you create a billing alarm, you must set your Region to US East (N. Virginia). Billing metric data is stored in this Region and represents worldwide charges. You also must enable billing alerts for your account or in the management/payer account (if you are using consolidated billing). For more information, see Enabling billing alerts.

In this procedure, you create an alarm that sends a notification when your estimated charges for AWS exceed a defined threshold.

To create a billing alarm using the CloudWatch console
  1. Open the CloudWatch console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Alarms, and then choose All alarms.

  3. Choose Create alarm.

  4. Choose Select metric. In Browse, choose Billing, and then choose Total Estimated Charge.


    If you don't see the Billing/Total Estimated Charge metric, enable billing alerts, and change your Region to US East (N. Virginia). For more information, see Enabling billing alerts.

  5. Select the box for the EstimatedCharges metric, and then choose Select metric.

  6. For Statistic, choose Maximum.

  7. For Period, choose 6 hours.

  8. For Threshold type, choose Static.

  9. For Whenever EstimatedCharges is . . ., choose Greater.

  10. For than . . ., define the value that you want to cause your alarm to trigger. For example, 200 USD.

    The EstimatedCharges metric values are only in US dollars (USD), and the currency conversion is provided by Amazon Services LLC. For more information, see What is AWS Billing?.


    After you define a threshold value, the preview graph displays your estimated charges for the current month.

  11. Choose Additional Configuration and do the following:

    • For Datapoints to alarm, specify 1 out of 1.

    • For Missing data treatment, choose Treat missing data as missing.

  12. Choose Next.

  13. Under Notification, ensure that In alarm is selected. Then specify an Amazon SNS topic to be notified when your alarm is in the ALARM state. The Amazon SNS topic can include your email address so that you recieve email when the billing amount crosses the threshold that you specified.

    You can select an existing Amazon SNS topic, create a new Amazon SNS topic, or use a topic ARN to notify other account. If you want your alarm to send multiple notifications for the same alarm state or for different alarm states, choose Add notification.

  14. Choose Next.

  15. Under Name and description, enter a name for your alarm. The name must contain only UTF-8 characters, and can't contain ASCII control characters.

    1. (Optional) Enter a description of your alarm. The description can include markdown formatting, which is displayed only in the alarm Details tab in the CloudWatch console. The markdown can be useful to add links to runbooks or other internal resources.

  16. Choose Next.

  17. Under Preview and create, make sure that your configuration is correct, and then choose Create alarm.

Deleting a billing alarm

You can delete your billing alarm when you no longer need it.

To delete a billing alarm
  1. Open the CloudWatch console at

  2. If necessary, change the Region to US East (N. Virginia). Billing metric data is stored in this Region and reflects worldwide charges.

  3. In the navigation pane, choose Alarms, All alarms.

  4. Select the check box next to the alarm and choose Actions, Delete.

  5. When prompted for confirmation, choose Yes, Delete.