I've known several IT pros who successfully certified by creating a study group, or teaming up with a study buddy. You've seen by now that certifying requires some up-front work in gathering resources and making judgments about what and how to study. The whole process can be a lot easier (and more fun) when done with friends.
If you take this approach, be sure you've all got compatible goals. It doesn't matter much if one person in a study group drops out before completion, but a shared schedule is critical. All members must commit to taking the exams in the same order in about the same timeframe for the group to succeed.
Don't have local friends with the same certification interests? Try a virtual community at one of the web sites below.