Hi Will Just got back from some bouldering in Bishop I was told before we left that the best place to stay on a budget was Hostel California but sadly it was fully booked so we stopped at Motel 6 which was fine but not cheap as everywhere fills up quickly in Bishop - check out The Mountain Ramblers Brewery on the main Street for excellent beer and great cheap food also call in at The Gear Exchange or Wilsons Eastside Sports (next door) there's always someone looking for someone to climb with. have a good trip wish I could join you.
You can camp at "the pit" for 2 dollars a night, 5 mins out of town. 2 mins from happies and not far from buttermilks. Might be cold in december... Theres also s coffee shop next to eastside sports which is full of climbers and is a good to meet people.