I do not count the cast on, but I do count the loops on the needle. You inevitably do something with them... work on or cast off or anything, but that is the NEXT information. The row is loops and counts.
I hate row counters or check lists. I do forget to count both.
I count the rows just up one column.
Well, I lately made a few patterns that determined counting all the time (socks with cables every 10 rounds) and I was working during a train ride. I did really not want to count or loose track all the time.
So, kind of like the linked stitch markers, I use something I call a rosary. (just my name, but I will make a blog posting about it soon with photos and everything).
It is just a piece of yarn. Use a good bit in length, Sockyarn or anything will work but I recommend something non-fuzzy and the less splitty it is, the better.
Hold it double and make a knot in it near the top so that you have a loop there that is a bit bigger than the needle you work with.
Then make another knot about the same length further down and so on.
My standart rosary has 10 loops and the the open ends. If a pattern calls for a different repeat you can make it to the number of that repeat.
On row / round 1 I put my needle into the top loop and let it hang there. Preferably a few stitches in, I do not like it behind the edge stitch. In the round: at the beginning of the round, serving as a round marker as well.
Now when you get to it next, pick it up with the other needle, but poke in one hole lower towards the end. (the end is always where the 2 open ends hang!).
Keep going like this and you will know when you did complete a repeat or in standart work a set of 10 with a 10-hole-rosary.
You can do whatever you like at that point... for my socks I just worked my cable round while poking into loop No. 1 again (which I started on the first cable round this way). For the teddy bear I am just working on I need to knit 12 rows of st st, for example, so my brain says: 10 + 2 more. And I just end after getting to hole No. 2 the second time around.
you can also mark every 10th row some way (by tying a piece of yarn into a stitch of this row or something).
Using the rosary (or linked stitch markers) constistenly is not hard. You do not forget it because you are getting to it inevitably. All you have to remember is that you always poke one hole lower.
If you have a hard time remembering which end of the rosary to poke towards, mark that end in more color (tying a second color yarn in or anything).
For me this is the best way to keep track of row / round counts. Just because I am too "fast" in working on and too sure that "I will remember that count" when working on, so that I really will not remember to write down numbers or to turn a row counter. That is just me, though.
But maybe that helps you with chronic loss of count.
Oh: if you work odd pattern structures, where one repeat happens every 8 rows, the other every 10 or anything: just use 2 rosaries. Or more if need be. each keeps count for you better than your brain will.