Ricky Gervais was once so poor he couldn't afford soap.

The 49-year-old British funnyman - who didn't find fame until 2001 with his sitcom 'The Office' - thought it was better to ensure he had a smart wardrobe than soft skin when rationing his water usage in order to cut costs as a struggling student.

The Millionaire star explained: "I was down to my last 50 pence. The last remnants of my student grant. The water meter in my flat had reached zero and I had no clean clothes to wear.

"Also, I needed a wash. So I decided to wash myself and my clothes at the same time. But I had a dilemma.

"Do I put the shirts in with me and use the last bit of shampoo, thereby compromising the shirts? Or do I put the last bit of Daz [washing powder] in and compromise my skin?

"In the end I went for the Daz option. Let's get my shirts looking good, that's the priority. It was a big mistake because I felt all gritty and itchy."

The 49-year-old funnyman also told how he was reduced to eating breakfast cereal Shredded Wheat with cold baked beans on top before eventually graduating University College London in the early 80s with a degree in philosophy.

He recalled to Live magazine: "I was starving and had nothing at all to eat so decided to raid one of the kitchens in the halls of residence, but all I could find was some stale Shredded Wheat and a tin of baked beans. Then I found out that the oven didn't work, so I just poured the cold beans on top of it.

"It was pretty grim."

Ricky - who was estimated to have a Fortune of around £7 million in 2007 - has previously said he doesn't let his fame and riches go to his head, and remains humble since becoming successful.

He said: "I don't sit back and say, 'I deserve to earn silly amounts'. Doing so has made me feel guilty.

"Apart from being able to afford more things, I haven't changed my habits.

"I didn't go into the industry because I wanted to be famous. It can all get a bit embarrassing."