The EU budget has only recently started to feature in theories of European integration. Studies typically adopt a historical-institutionalist framework, exploring notions such as path dependency. They have, however, generally been rather aggregated, or coarse-grained, in their approach. The EU budget has thus been treated as a single entity rather than a series of inter-linked institutions. This paper seeks to address these lacunae by adopting a fine-grained approach. This enables us to emphasize the connections that exist between EU budgetary institutions, in both time and space. We show that the initial set of budgetary institutions was unable, over time, to achieve consistently their treaty-based objectives. In response, rather than reform these institutions at potentially high political cost, additional institutions were layered on top of the extant structures. We thus demonstrate how some EU budgetary institutions have remained unchanged, whilst others have been added or changed over time.