By and large, certifications will be worth far more than the degree, if people look at your job application or resume and see the certs. Without the degree, in these times, they may not bother looking at your application/resume.
1. Learn to spellcheck before hitting "send" -- use Firefox or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, because both of them come with a built-in spellchecker, although in Firefox you'll have to modify your about:config file (type that into your address bar), look for layout.spellcheckDefault and set it to 2 (otherwise, it doesn't check single-line text inputs, like the subject line of Slashdot posts). When people can only see what you wrote, they will judge you off of that.
2. Go to school online. You don't have to lose any salary. Go to school online. "But I have a life outside work." Yeah, it might require sacrificing your social life, any gaming you might do, any hobbies you might participate in, but you can do it you work hard at it. If you are married with kids, hopefully you have a strong enough relationship for them to support you during this tough time in your life. That's how I learned how to cook when I was young -- when my mom went back to school (mainly online) for her Master's Degree.
3. Don't go to a super name brand school. It's a degree, you're right, it's not worth all that much compared to actual real life experience, especially if you have certs from an independent third party which say that you really do know what you say you know. For instance, if your primary job is working with Oracle SQL, then it shouldn't be too difficult for you to get some sort of Oracle SQL-related certification. Anyway, enroll in any school. University of Phoenix, etc., are usually really expensive -- you can do better. Contact all the universities around you and see what they offer.
Don't forget, you can also attend night classes. Classes related to a "professional" degree (as compared to a worthless Poetry degree or English degree or something like that) are far more likely to be offered at night when people working in a professional field would be able to attend. Sure, a lot of the classes are going to be boring terribly annoying cakewalks, but keep pushing, you'll get through it eventually.
Good luck. :)