It is great fun isn't it?

Your fingers pose the same potential to damage as a squeegee. A little speck of something can be carried down the film, scratching as it goes, through frame after frame after frame. Most of the time you can get away with it, but the one time you've got terrific, un-repeatable, very precious negs - that'll be the time there turns out to be a tiny little piece of grit that wrecks your negatives. Photo-flo (or other brand) is cheap. It goes a long way. (I think I'm on my second bottle this century, and I entered it with a bottle less than half full.) Dunk your negatives in the photo-flo, hang and let them drip dry. Squeegees or fingers aren't going to speed the process anyway.

I dump everything down the sink except the fix. (And selinuim and dichromates, but you'll not have got to those yet ) A silver magnet is on my wish list for Christmas.