I have online circulars for my local grocery stores placed in my inbox when they come out each week. That morning, I check the circulars online, find the deals on stuff we already like plus things that we would like to try. Then, I hit my coupon websites (couponmom.com, coolsavings.com, couponbug.com and smartsource.com) and look for matching coupons along with whatever useful coupon I find. Another thing I'll do is go to the individual brand websites to look for coupons too. After all this, I'll make my list of what to get at each store (there are only 2 here, so it's not a big venture), and I'll go early the next morning with the kids. I go early for one main reason - markdowns. Every morning, the stores go through their produce and meats and mark some down. I look through what they have available and pick and choose the best. I save a ton on meat this way, and no, I've never gotten sick off of it, but that's probably because I don't buy meat that's dark brown or green, I only but meat that still looks fresh and has no smell. Produce has never caused me any problems either. My biggest items to buy at reduced are apples, bananas, squash, peppers and broccoli. Apples and bananas are good choices because if you are not going to be able to finish them before they spoil, you can always make a bread, muffin or cake out of them and freeze that. Squash, peppers and broccoli also freeze well for later use if you can't get to them in time.
Okay, when I have my shopping done, I put everything away, and then I add to my list all of the extra items like the reduced meat and produce that I purchased and I meal plan. At this point, I already have the following week's meal plan done, so I make the plan for the following week. This way I get to use some of the great finds along with rotating my current inventory.
Something to remember, when you are doing your meal planning, plan on using your leftovers as part of a new meal. For instance, Monday's roast chicken can become Wedneday's chicken pot pie or chicken enchiladas or chicken casserole or chicken salad, the list goes on. Leftovers do not have to be used the next day if stored properly, you can wait an extra day or so (depending on th item) so that you don't chicken or beef yourself to death. have fun with it and go online with your list of leftovers and find a new recipe to try!