One quick note to try out is using the safelight as an extinguishing meter (I think thats the right term). I used to do this before I ever got anything resembling a meter and quite often one sheet was all I needed for an acceptable print.
Works like this- the safelight stays when the enlarger is on, unlike most setups where it's hooked to the other plug in the timer. The safelight is hung in a permanent location that illuminates the work area evenly at a reasonable level, not too bright or dark. When you put a neg in the enlarger notice when you turn it on the image projected looks blueish in the shadow (clear) areas and red tinted in the highlight (dark) areas at certain aperture settings. This is because those light levels relative to the safelight are higher or lower and look the color of the brighter source. I would fiddle with the aperture until the colors would swim a bit as they balance each other. Using your test strip find a time that works for that light level. Next print do your twiddling and just try a print straightaway and see how it goes. With practice you can judge the exposure quite close using that standard time for the paper you use.
It can be a little complicated if you are switching from really big prints down to little ones but the big ones you should be making test strips on anyway because of the cost factor for the paper.