There's several cheap hostels. You can also camp outside of town, in the nearby hills and mountains. Be mindful of snakes though. The close beach of Dereli is a perfect spot for free camping very wide and with comfortble fine sand, there is also a nice camping that you can use for shower (the entrance from the beach is not surveilled) even wildcamping on the beach.
Free entrance to Efes ruins
Being one of the most popular tourist destination, as most of any other the ticket for Efes is pretty expensive (ar aound 20-25 TL summer 2012). For free entrance there are 2 options, not very legal both of them.
The first one, is the muzeumkart, a card that can be issue by any tourist attraction, costs 15 (for students) or 30 TL (adults), but is reserved to Turkish people, so if you are not turkish the only way it will be your host or a turkish person who is not using it (eg a couchsurfer from Izmir) can lend it to you, and you pretend to be turkish at the entrance. The other, a bit more risky and adrenalinic too consists in sneaking inside without being seen. The entrance is pretty surveilled so forget about passing behind someone with his ticket. You will arrive from Selcuk from Dr Sabri Yayla blv (check maps) then left to Efes Yolu (walk on it dont let your driver bring you till the main gate of the ruins, or you can go there and leave there your backpack by one of the dozens shops). Keeping your left you will enter a wrong way where cars should turn right and straight will come only from the contrary way. There you may notice that there are already some ruins but (surprisingly cause they are really beautiful) they don't belong to the main tourist complex, check out the fence, there are several holes big enough to pass through them. Then you just have to walk on the hills and get till the main area (you will be upon the big amphitheatre) where there will be the hardest part, i.e getting down without being seen, better avoid the theatre and entering further next to the main street. You will be viewable during all the time coming down from the hill but most probably if you don't make huge noise nobody will pay attention to you, otherwise you can still say that you went to explore the hills and you lost your ticket...
- 'I entered Efes for free pretty easily in August (2012) when the flux of tourists were still very high. Entering the fence from Efes yolu, and walking all upon the hills, together with other 2 guys too, we didn't find any problems with guards nor police (there were militaries surveiling the area...), in less than 20 minutes we were already mixed among the other tourists with great satisfaction and excitement.'