In an effort to hit the pause button on wanton spending and focus on the importance of squirreling away a little money for a rainy day, February 19-26 has been set aside as “America Saves Week.

It’s a joint effort from the American Savings Education Council and the non-profit Consumer Federation of America to promote sensible saving habits — which are foreign to a lot of Americans these days.

Just two years ago, nearly three-quarters of Americans spent less than they earned and saved the rest, but now, only two-thirds of people surveyed said they’re doing so. In addition, just over half report they’re saving enough for retirement — a 10 percent drop from 2010.

But the decline doesn’t necessarily mean we’re getting more irresponsible. Stephen Brobeck, CFA Executive Director and a founder of America Saves says the recession has been a prime factor, adding, “Many working families are still apparently suffering from the high unemployment rate, stagnant incomes, and a depressed housing market.”

Nearly 1,000 banks, employers, and government entities are honoring America Saves Week, mainly by encouraging consumers to save. If setting aside money is something that’s hard for you, you might want to consider automating it with your bank so that part of your paycheck goes into a separate savings account without any action on your part.