Maria and Richard have bought a larger house than they can afford, and are starting to struggle under the weight of debt. The house is in need of maintenance work with a quote from a builders on replacing the roof, and with little potential for selling their home, they discuss a possible loan. Richard heads to the bank to enquire about a loan, but is rejected due to outstanding loans and his current mortgate situation. Meanwhile, Maria discusses things with her mother who suggests a lodger may be in order. Advertising in a local shop, Maria soon has a viewer, student Paul who agrees to take the room despite its poor condition. However, a second viewer and also a student, Ruby, arrives leaving Maria feeling sorry for her situation and agreeing to take her as a second lodger, meaning Richard has a surprise upon returning home from work.
Paul and Ruby have now been in the house for a few weeks, and having them around is making Richard feel old while Maria is starting to feel motherly. Renovations on the house have also began with the incoming money, with Maria, Paul and Ruby taking on the decorating themselves much to Richard's dismay. Paul admits later to Maria that he is having problems at university getting the work done, as well as having little money and now late with his rent, so Maria arranges for him to do the painting in lieu. This however causes problems with Maria and Richard facing an argument just before bed. Paul takes to asking Richard for help with an assignment which Maria suggests he will end up doing. Paul has managed to get a job in the student union bar, as well as completes the decorating of the first room though Maria warns him that he can't depend on them to always help him out of every problem.
Maria has a job covering a maternity leave for a local newspaper and will be writing a feminism column. Ruby is also struggling for money, while Paul suggests a car boot sale to sell some belongings including a number of Maria's stored in the attic which are taking up space. Maria also takes to working late at night, leaving Richard feeling rejected and lacking attention. Paul and Ruby find some old Dinky cars in the attic, which Maria says they can sell while writing her article, however they belong to Richard leading Maria to race to the car boot to prevent them being sold. However, it is too late and Maria resolves to keeping Richard from finding out until she can get them back. Handling the dealer that bought them, she pays a price for the cars before returning to the house to tell Richard what happened.
Maria and Richard's wedding anniversary is coming up, though Maria is expecting it to be predictable as usual while talking to Ruby. Ruby sets about asking Richard's friend Amy to persuade him to do something different. Richard arranges a trip for Maria, leaving Ruby and Paul at home who plan on having a party. At the restaurant, Maria and Richard wonder how the party is going and decide to drop by, where Richard finds a girl crying while stuck in his bedroom having been trapped by Paul's DJ equipment, who is upset at her boyfriend who called her boring. Richard offers advice on being more spontaneous as a way to fix her relationship. Meanwhile, Maria is enjoying herself dancing and gets invited out on a date as Richard prepares to take her back to the hotel. The following day, Ruby and Paul give their present - a lamp - to replace a lamp broken by Richard at the party.