A mechanism is provided for managing a budget for a customer in a compute cloud. A cloud budget manager calculates charges for usage of compute cloud resources by each of the customer's services associated with the customer from a beginning of a time period to a current time thereby forming calculated charges. The cloud budget manager estimates charges for a remaining time in the time period thereby forming estimated charges. The cloud budget manager determines whether a sum of the calculated charges and the estimated charges exceeds an allocated budget. The cloud budget manager implements a policy in a plurality of policies that adjusts the level of services of the customer in order to fall within the allocated budget in real time in response to a determination that the sum of the calculated charges and the estimated charges exceeds the allocated budget.